Just Say No…To the Free Goodies at the Dentist

I went to the dentist yesterday and as I was making my way there, I kept thinking about the plastic bag of “goodies” they give out to all their patients. Usually this involves a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, and special floss for those with permanent retainers, all in a nice plastic bag. There may even be some coupons in there.


So after my cleaning, the dental hygienist started to pack up my “goodie bag,” and I quickly stopped her with some combination of the following arguments:

  • No, I do not need another toothbrush. We have approximately 5,000 in our bathroom cabinet from you guys already. Also my mom shops at Costco, and I am going to invest in a bamboo toothbrush anyway.
  • Toothbrushes are extremely difficult to recycle. Every single toothbrush I have ever used is sitting in a landfill! If I replaced my toothbrush every 3 months like the dentist recommends, that means I would have tossed 104 toothbrushes into the trash in my lifetime.
  • No, I don’t want tiny toothpaste. As with the toothbrushes, we have approximately 5,000 of them already.
  • I only want the floss if it is the good kind. If it is not, put it back in the drawer.
  • I also do not need your dentist-themed plastic bag, I will just toss my floss in my purse and I am good to go.

To accumulate less stuff, we have to learn the art of refusal and saying no to things we do not want pretty much anywhere we go.

***Cover photo credit: Greenpeace


  1. Agreed. Do not just accept stuff because it is free or just to be polite (unless it is a gift, I have a hard time refusing something a friend has bought specifically for me). I have started refusing at the dentist, and so has my husband, because he has a big bag full of floss, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. It is ridiculous! One of our ZW bloggers brings a bamboo toothbrushes to the dentist when she takes her child. She then gives the bamboo toothbrush to the dentist (stealthily), who then gives it to the child. That’s one way to do it 🙂


  2. I’ve definitely had this experience. My dentist isn’t quite this bad, just a toothbrush and floss, but last time I said no to both and explained that I had a bamboo toothbrush at home and that I’m still working my way through
    all the old mini-floss containers I’ve already gotten. The hygienist was totally supportive – she even asked what my plan was for eco floss! (I had to admit I don’t have one yet…)


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