Table of Contents for the 5 reasons why a Wooden Toothbrush beats a Plastic One
- Wooden Toothbrushes are more eco-friendly
- Wooden Toothbrushes are becoming more biodegradable
- Your Wooden Toothbrush is just as effective as any plastic one
- Your Wooden Toothbrush lasts just as long as a traditional one
- Wooden Toothbrushes are both safe and hygienic
Personal hygiene is an essential part of your daily regimen. And with so much going on in your day-to-day life, the type of toothbrush you use is probably the last thing on your mind.
However, with more consumers looking for ways to start living a more sustainable lifestyle, inquiring about alternatives to your traditional plastic toothbrush may not be that far off your radar.
You have probably seen ads on television or social media about wooden toothbrushes, especially in those ads on brushing with activated charcoal powder – a reigning trend today.
All that said, just how much better are these alternatives to the widely used plastic toothbrushes?
How Did Plastic Toothbrushes Become So Prevalent?
Before diving into why you should consider making the change to a wooden toothbrush, it is essential to understand why plastic toothbrushes became so prevalent among consumers.
The First Documented Toothbrushes Date Back to 3500 BC
Current history will have you believe that the first toothbrush was invented in 1938. However, the first uses of dental tools date back to 3500 BC, when the ancient Babylonians used chewing sticks to help them maintain their oral health.
Then, in 1600 BC, Chinese records noted the use of chewing sticks. The user would chew on one end until it became brush-like, and the other end was sharpened to a point and used as a toothpick.
Who Invented the First Modern-Day Toothbrush?
The first mass-produced toothbrush was credited to William Addis of Clerkenwell, England, in 1780, and the first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth in November 1857.
However, the entity often credited with creating the modern toothbrush is the Dupont de Nemours company in 1938, when they introduced the first nylon-bristled toothbrush to consumers.
Up until 1938, toothbrushes were made with a variety of different types of bristles, with boar hair being the most common. While bore may be an all-natural material, it wasn’t considered very hygienic, and it certainly wasn’t animal-friendly.
Once the production of nylon started, Dupont used it to begin producing the first three-row bristled toothbrush design. With more consumers preferring the nylon bristles, production increased, and by the 1950s, softer nylon bristles went into production.
Plastic Toothbrushes are Family- and Budget-Friendly
With the introduction of nylon-bristled toothbrushes, more and more people were feeling comfortable practicing regular dental hygiene.
The softer bristles made them more family-friendly because they didn’t cause as much damage to the gums of younger users who were still learning proper brushing techniques.
Not only that, plastics toothbrushes were also much easier and quicker to mass-produce, making them more readily available to the general public.
That meant more people were able to take better care of their teeth, and it wouldn’t cost nearly as much to maintain a healthy smile.
How are Plastic Toothbrushes Made?
In the plastic vs. wooden toothbrush debate, traditional plastic toothbrushes are increasingly becoming notorious for contributing to the mass amount of plastic waste in our landfills and oceans and how they are produced as well.
The production of plastic toothbrushes seems simple enough:
- Plastic is mixed and shaped into small pellets
- The pellets are heated/melted in an injection molding machine
- The melted plastic is injected into molds for the plastic toothbrush handles
- Once cooled, the plastic handles are pushed out of the molds
- The nylon bristles are then inserted into the core of the toothbrush and trimmed to the correct length
- The final toothbrush is packaged for sale
How Plastic Toothbrush Production is Damaging the Environment
Plastic toothbrushes have become a regular part of most people’s lives. However, they have often made the news as of late for their contribution to the destruction of the environment.
Sure, plastic toothbrushes are convenient and budget-friendly for most individuals. However, part of the production process involves the melting/burning of plastics, which releases toxic chemicals and harmful black carbon into the air, which contribute to poor breathing conditions, air pollution, and climate change.
5 Reasons Why a Wooden Toothbrush Makes a Better Alternative to Traditional Plastic Toothbrushes
With plastic toothbrushes being the norm in today’s society, many find it difficult to wrap their mind around the need for wooden toothbrushes. Are they really that much better than a plastic one?
A recent survey showed that approximately 93% of consumers are interested in the human impact on the environment, and 77% want to learn how they can start participating in green-living activities.
While most people try to drive more eco-friendly vehicles or take extra care to sort their recycling each week, others are looking to make an impact in even the smallest ways. These include switching out their plasticware for more eco-friendly options.
Believe it or not, wooden toothbrushes are much more commonplace than you may think. In fact, in 2019, the market size of bamboo toothbrushes was said to be worth $23.5 million. The industry is also projected to continue growing at a 9.5% compound annual growth rate from 2020 to 2027.
So, are wooden toothbrushes really the preferred dental hygiene tool of the future? Here are five reasons you may want to consider making the switch.
1. Wooden Toothbrushes are More Eco-Friendly
One of the primary reasons more and more consumers are looking to switch to wooden toothbrushes is they have been told these bamboo alternatives are much more eco-friendly than the plastic toothbrushes we’ve come to know and love.
Global plastic use has become quite problematic for several reasons. Not only has the production of plastics grown to approximately 368 million metric tons globally, but research has also shown that plastic waste is contributing significantly to the pollution of the planet in more ways than one.
It is expected that as much as 58 million tons of plastic waste will end up in the ocean annually. The production process of plastic is also responsible for the release of toxic gasses, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, mercury, and dioxins. These toxins can cause harm to all living creatures, including impairing the human immune system and contributing to worsening breathing conditions for those with conditions such as Asthma.
The production of bamboo toothbrushes is considered eco-friendly because it does not require the burning of gases, crude oil, and/or coal, as plastic production requires.
They also do not require large, expensive machinery to cut and collect the bamboo used for wooden toothbrushes, as bamboo must be hand-cut to preserve the bamboo forests.
Wooden toothbrushes are also eco-friendly because many of them can be recycled once they have reached the end of their lifecycle.
However, note that not all wooden toothbrushes are completely recyclable, especially those that use traditional nylon bristles.
2. More Wooden Toothbrushes are Becoming More Biodegradable
While some wooden toothbrushes still utilize nylon bristles, many are starting to transition to the use of natural hair bristles or biobased bristles, which are made with 100% castor bean oil.
Many toothbrushes are becoming more biodegradable, but they are not legally allowed to be classified as such because they don’t naturally decompose within a year.
However, if a product has been certified as biobased, that means it will decompose eventually – it just may take longer than the predefined year.
For example, the Brush with Bamboo toothbrushes are made with USDA-certified 100% biobased bristles.
While they may not decompose within a year, the bristles eventually decompose back into the soil (natural waste), and the rest of the brush will as well.
3. Your Wooden Toothbrush is Just as Effective as Traditional Plastic Brushes
A common question many consumers ask is how effective a wooden toothbrush is compared to a plastic brush.
With the removal of nylon bristles in many wooden toothbrushes, consumers are curious about just how effective the alternative bristles are in cleaning their teeth.
Major toothbrush retailers and dental professionals alike stand by the statement that these bristles are just as effective as their traditional nylon counterparts.
As for the bamboo handle of wooden toothbrushes, they hold up just fine when used as instructed.
The only challenge is finding the toothbrush that fits your mouth, and that is something millions of consumers have to deal with even when choosing their plastic toothbrushes.
4. They Last Just as Long as a Traditional Plastic Toothbrush
Since many wooden toothbrushes are considered natural products, many consumers wonder just how long these dental tools will last once they are put to use.
The good news is that wooden toothbrushes last just as long as traditional plastic toothbrushes when used as directed.
If you want to get the most out of your wooden toothbrush, make sure you are following proper brushing techniques, including:
- For outside surfaces, place your toothbrush against the gum line at a 45-degree angle and move the toothbrush gently back and forth in short strokes.
- For the inside surfaces, tilt your brush vertically and make up-and-down strokes.
When using these techniques, your teeth will come out smooth and clean, giving you a brighter smile.
It is also crucial to remember to swap out your toothbrushes every three to four months, as recommended by the American Dental Association.
However, if you notice your bristles are starting to fray sooner, you should replace your brush to prevent any injury to your gums.
5. Are Wooden Toothbrushes Safe and Hygienic?
Yes, wooden toothbrushes are absolutely safe and hygienic. One of the reasons that millions of people are making the switch from traditional plastic toothbrushes to bamboo brushes is that bamboo is naturally antimicrobial.
That means your bamboo toothbrush is less prone to bacterial growth than traditional plastic toothbrushes.
However, since bamboo is a natural wood product, you still need to make sure you are caring for it properly – otherwise, the material can start to degrade much faster.
While you may be able to throw your freshly rinsed plastic toothbrush into a cup for later use, you want to take a few extra steps to care for your bamboo toothbrush, including:
- Storing your brush in an upright position
- Keeping it in an open container, not a closed-walled cup, as this will prevent it from drying completely
The key to maintaining your wooden toothbrush is to rinse it out completely after each use and to allow it to dry completely in an open-air container to prevent any moisture buildup.
Are wooden toothbrushes better?
We’ve highlighted 5 reasons why wooden toothbrushes beat plastic toothbrushes:
- Wooden toothbrushes are more eco-friendly
- They are becoming more biodegradable
- Wooden toothbrushes are just as effective as plastic ones
- They last just as long as plastic ones
- Safe and hygienic
Making the decision on whether or not to switch from a plastic toothbrush to a wooden toothbrush is a personal one.
While many consumers have noted that bamboo toothbrushes cost a little more than your standard plastic option, you have to wonder if the price trade-off is worth it in the end.
Most people can find a four-pack of plastic toothbrushes at their local dollar store for $1.00 (making each one $0.25), but the average bamboo toothbrush costs around $5.00 a brush.
That’s quite the jump, and some consumers find it rather difficult to justify the cost, especially since you have to replace them just as often as a plastic one.
However, if you are trying to actively live a more sustainable lifestyle, then making the adjustment from plastic toothbrushes to bamboo toothbrushes is well worth it in the end.
Wooden toothbrushes are proven to be just as safe and effective as traditional plastic toothbrushes.
They also have a much smaller carbon footprint and, when you choose the right brand, can be easily recycled or composted – making them extremely environmentally friendly.
Even better, you can find wooden toothbrushes for everyone in your family!
So, will you be making the switch from a plastic toothbrush to a wooden one?