Bamboo toothbrushes are becoming more and more popular as people reconsider their plastic consumption. This is surely a good thing, considering bamboo toothbrushes help reduce plastic waste. Only 9% of plastic actually gets recycled and the average American generates approximately 4.9lbs of trash per day.
Bamboo toothbrushes are able to last as many uses as plastic toothbrushes and are just as effective.
Here’s everything you need to know about bamboo toothbrushes and why you should strongly consider making the switch.
Are Bamboo Toothbrushes Good? – Table of Contents
- What Are bamboo toothbrushes?
- Are bamboo toothbrushes better than plastic ones for the environment?
- Are bamboo toothbrushes good for teeth and health?
- How do I care for a bamboo toothbrush?
- How to dispose of bamboo toothbrushes
- Conclusion: Bamboo toothbrushes are better
1. What Are Bamboo Toothbrushes?
First, let’s establish what a bamboo toothbrush is. It’s a manual toothbrush similar in design to conventional plastic toothbrushes, minus the plastic. It has a long handle and bristles to remove plaque and food debris from your teeth and gums.
The main difference between plastic and bamboo toothbrushes is the handle. With bamboo toothbrushes, the handle is made from bamboo.
Bamboo is a renewable material that grows back quickly, requires no fertilizer and self-regenerates from its own roots so it doesn’t need replanting. It’s a very versatile plant, making it the ideal choice for a toothbrush handle.
Sometimes, even the bristles are made from sustainable materials. Our toothbrushes are made with USDA certified 100% biobased bristles. Conventional toothbrush bristles are typically made from nylon, aka plastic.
Our bristles are made from 100% castor bean oil, making it the world’s first plant-based bamboo toothbrushes. We offer both standard soft and extra soft bristles for those with extra sensitive teeth and gums.
You can use a bamboo toothbrush just as long as plastic toothbrushes. Also, ours come in boxes made from compostable/recyclable paper – no tape or glue is used.
2. Are bamboo toothbrushes better than plastic ones for the environment?
Yes, bamboo toothbrushes are better than plastic ones, especially in regard to the environment. Plastic toothbrushes are very hard to recycle and don’t break down in a landfill. In fact, the plastic toothbrush you had when you were little is probably still sitting in a landfill, or worse, the ocean somewhere.
Truth is, eco-friendly toothbrushes are the way of the future. Approximately 1 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown out each year in the United States alone. Plastic is made using crude oil, aka fossil fuels. It’s time we ditch fossil fuels and find sustainable alternatives that won’t contribute to the climate crisis.
Bamboo toothbrushes are better than plastic ones because they’re made out of a compostable material. As I mentioned earlier, bamboo is a fast-growing plant that’s also biodegradable/compostable at the end of its life. This creates less waste overall.
When your toothbrush bristles are frayed, you may remove them (using pliers is usually the easiest option), then compost the handle. Or, you may try out some creative ways to recycle your bamboo toothbrushes.
While our bristles are made from castor bean oil, a biodegradable material, it cannot technically be classified as “compostable” (compostable products need to break down as quickly as food). However, our biobased bristles will eventually return to the soil. You may recycle our bristles at your local recycling facility or with Terracycle.
It’s also important to note not all bamboo toothbrushes are created equal. Not all brands that sell bamboo toothbrushes are open about where they source their bamboo from – which can mean it’s being unsustainably harvested.
Our bamboo is harvested exclusively from bamboo forests that are FSC certified well-managed. We use Moso bamboo in our brushes to ensure the welfare of pandas. Pandas eat 42 species of bamboo, but Moso bamboo is not one of them. Pandas also do not inhabit the area where we harvest.
The toothbrushes are also verified chemical-free and BPA-free by U.S. testing agencies. You can view our other certifications here.
3. Are bamboo toothbrushes good for teeth and health?
Bamboo toothbrushes affect a person’ teeth just as conventional toothbrushes do. The bamboo toothbrush is actually made on the same type of machinery used to make plastic toothbrushes. But here’s the best part: With bamboo toothbrushes, you won’t be sticking plastic into your mouth.
As you might be well aware by now, microplastics and microfibers can shed off over time with any kind of plastic. These microfibers are practically microscopic so you can’t really see them.
However, very disturbing news has been surfacing to indicate that we’re actually consuming plastic – and no, not directly. According to a recent study, we eat a credit card’s worth of plastic every week. To make matters worse, plastic has been found in human feces, in human placentas and most recently – even in the blood stream.
We don’t yet know exactly what all this plastic in our bodies means for our health, but it cannot be good. Plastic leeches toxins over time, so any accumulation of it in our vital systems, be it our blood or our guts, cannot be healthy.
Now just imagine brushing your teeth day and night with a plastic toothbrush – you’re literally putting the plastic bristles right into your mouth. We can only imagine how many plastic microfibers that indirectly causes us to swallow.
It’s safe to say we need to cut back our plastic consumption as much as possible. Switching to a bamboo toothbrush is a much better choice for your teeth and overall health! Ours in particular are made with castor bean oil so there’s no chance of plastic contamination.
For even more reasons why bamboo toothbrushes are superior to plastic, be sure to check out our post 5 Reasons Why Wooden Toothbrushes Beat Their Plastic Alternatives.
4. How do I care for a bamboo toothbrush?
To ensure your bamboo toothbrush lasts as long as possible, there are a few care methods you should know about.
First, bamboo is a natural material that responds best to being in a dry area. For that reason, you should avoid enclosed toothbrush cups that collect water at the bottom – these aren’t ideal. Keeping your toothbrush in an open-air toothbrush holder is always best.
Before first use, as with any toothbrush, make sure to rinse the toothbrush handle and bristles with water. There may be some bamboo dust that remains on the toothbrush head and handle after manufacturing. While this is harmless, it needs to be washed off.
Also, FYI, the bamboo on the top portion of your toothbrush will appear lighter and fade over time with use. This is totally normal and won’t affect your brushing experience.
If you need to clean your bamboo toothbrush, make sure to wash it thoroughly, dry it thoroughly, then store it in a clean container or holder. Don’t wash it using soap – just water will do.
With proper care, your bamboo toothbrush will last for about three to four month. Make sure to replace your toothbrush if you see visible damage to the bristles.
5. How to dispose of bamboo toothbrushes
A bamboo toothbrush has three parts: The bristles, the handle and the metal staples used to clamp the bristles to the handle. Each one of these parts must be handled differently when disposing your bamboo toothbrush.
For the bamboo handle: You can compost this, or upcycle it into something else (like gardening labels or arts and crafts). If you compost it at home, it should safely return to the soil within 6 months. Or, you can put it in a commercial composting bin.
For the bristles: You can recycle them at your local recycling facility or with Terracycle.
For the staples: These are made from aluminum. These are highly recyclable, but they will also break down through chemical reactions in the environment, just like any metal. You’ll remove the metal staples when you remove the bristles from the handle.
Steps to remove bristles from a bamboo toothbrush:
- Grab 1 bunch of the bristles using a set of pliers.
- Pull up on the bristles, removing 1 bunch at a time.
- Repeat this until all the bristles are removed from the brush.
How to dispose of our packaging
Our bamboo toothbrushes will come in biodegradable outer boxes made from 100% paper. You can compost the box or put it in the recycling.
6. Conclusion: Bamboo toothbrushes are better
Ultimately, bamboo toothbrushes are good for the environment and our health. They help reduce plastic pollution and help us avoid potential plastic contamination in our bodies.
But not every bamboo toothbrush is made equal, so it’s important to know if you’re supporting an ethical company that’s harvesting bamboo sustainably. Ours is – all our bamboo is harvested from FSC certified well-managed forests and we utilize Moso bamboo which pandas do not eat. Pandas also do not inhabit the area we harvest from.
Our bristles are also not made out of plastic like conventional toothbrush bristles are. We use 100% biodegradable castor bean oil to make ours and that means you don’t have to worry about any plastic microfibers shedding in your mouth while you brush your teeth.
We recommend trying out our bamboo toothbrushes. If you have sensitive gums and teeth, be sure to try our extra soft bristles. We also recommend pairing it with our toothbrush holder so the brushes may properly dry after each use (which extends their lifetime). One of our toothbrushes should last you 3 to 4 months if properly cared for!
What do you think – are bamboo toothbrushes good? Would you give them a try? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author:
Ariana Palmieri is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste living and sustainability. Her work has been featured on Going Zero Waste, Mother Earth Living, Green Matters and several other publications. Get her free e-book “10 Ways to Reduce Trash” by signing up to her newsletter and learn how to reduce your waste today.