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Best Bamboo Toothbrush



Did you know that in the US alone, 1 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year? That translates into an additional 50 million pounds of plastic waste added to landfill per year.


Thankfully, toothbrushes are an easy sustainable swap that we can make and this article shows the best bamboo toothbrush you can incorporate into your daily life.


What’s so special about bamboo?

Bamboo toothbrushes are better for the environment because instead of using plastic, which we all know is bad for the environment, the handles are made from bamboo. Bamboo is actually a grass that produces up to 35% more oxygen than the equivalent mass of hardwood trees.


Bamboo is considered a renewable resource because it grows so quickly (some bamboos grow as much as three feet per day!). In fact, you can harvest some species of bamboo in three to five years. That’s much faster than it takes an oak tree, for example, which can take up to 40 years to mature to the point when it’s ready to be harvested.


Unlike trees, bamboo roots survive after the plant has been harvested and eventually its shoots grow back, ready to be harvested again. During that time, the roots hold the soil together and can improve the water table and regenerate the soil in areas where it grows.


Additionally, bamboo can be part of the circular economy because the wood is biodegradable and can be turned into fertilizer. And if it’s not recycled in this way, then the bamboo waste can be burned and turned into bio-energy for either heat or electricity.


The wood itself is very durable - it’s stronger than wood, brick and concrete - while remaining lightweight.


How to pick the best bamboo toothbrush for you

There are many bamboo toothbrushes on the market, so there are really two things to look out for.


Number 1: from my experience, the bristles tend to be hard and can be painful on my (sensitive) gums. I’ve found that going for bristles that are soft or even extra soft bristles is a much more comfortable experience. If you have sensitive gums, I would recommend the same.


Surprisingly, most bamboo toothbrushes do not have biodegradable bristles; instead, the bristles are made from nylon, which is essentially a type of plastic. I suppose this makes sense since most standard toothbrushes also have nylon bristles. Obviously, if we want to lessen the amount of plastic that we use and ultimately throw away, then I would focus on the brushes with natural bristles that are biodegradable and compostable instead of the ones made from nylon.


Taking care of your toothbrush

Because the toothbrush is made from wood, a little bit of extra care is required for it to stay clean and last for as long as it should.


It’s important to keep your toothbrush dry because wet wood can start to rot so be sure to ensure that water doesn’t pool at the bottom of your toothbrush holder. If it does stay wet, you may notice black mold growing where the wood is frequently wet.


Ideally, after you use your brush, dry it with a towel. If that’s not something you’re willing to do, shake as much water off of the brush and then let it dry by laying it horizontally on your toothbrush holder. Once it’s fully dry, you can place it into the toothbrush holder. It could be easier to just get a free-standing toothbrush holder so that all the water drips off.


Otherwise, take care of the toothbrush as you normally would. As with a regular toothbrush, they should be replaced every three to four months or as soon as the bristles start to fray, according to the American Dental Association.


Bristles falling out of the toothbrush is common, especially during the first use - don’t let that put you off. You can reduce the number of bristles that fall off while you’re brushing by soaking it in hot water and running your finger over the bristles first. That should remove most, if not all, of the stray bristles.


How to dispose of your bamboo toothbrush

As mentioned earlier, many bamboo toothbrushes have nylon bristles, which are not biodegradable because nylon is a synthetic plastic. So it’s important to separate the bristles from the body and throw the bristles away in the trash (or recycle them). There are two ways to do this: first, you can take pliers and pull the bristles out of the brush. Be careful doing this so they don’t fly everywhere! You can then recycle them. The second option is to just cut the head of the brush off, throw it away and compost the body.


The main body of the brush can either be reused (for example, as a garden marker or part of an arts and crafts project), composted in your home compost or added to your green waste.


If you want to go fully zero-waste, we’ve found a couple of brushes that are truly 100% biodegradable. Check them out below.


Gaia Guy Boar Bristle and Bamboo Toothbrushes

Pros

  • The bristles are natural boar hair so they are completely biodegradable and totally natural. You can put the whole brush in your compost bin when you’re done.

  • They claim that boar bristles are less abrasive than standard nylon bristles so they clean your teeth without ruining your enamel or hurting your gums.

  • The toothbrushes come in a paper tube that can be recycled or upcycled into a pencil case.

  • Toothpaste lathers really well with the bristles so you can use less toothpaste.

  • The brush is durable and lasts for a long time if you take good care of it.

Cons

  • The toothbrush sheds a bit more than other brushes and sometimes a couple bristles may end up falling out while brushing your teeth.

  • The bristles have a medium softness so if you have sensitive gums, it may be too hard. They do get softer with time.

  • Toothbrush head is a bit bulkier than most plastic toothbrushes so may feel a bit uncomfortable.

  • The wood of the head and handle are not polished smooth so they feel a little rough on the gums and inside of the cheeks.

  • The handle is completely round so it may be a bit awkward to hold.

  • The bristles sometimes may have a strange taste or smell. If you notice this, it should go away after soaking the brush in boiling water for 10 or 15 minutes, which you should do before the first use, anyway.


Brush with Bamboo Toothbrush with Plant-Based Bristles

Pros

  • The bristles are made from castor bean oil and are USDA certified 100% bioplastic, meaning there are no fossil fuels used.

  • The handles are a good size, ergonomic and easy to hold.

  • The toothbrushes come in plastic-free, brown paper packaging, which is compostable. The brush itself is wrapped in a bioplastic to keep the brush clean.

  • The bamboo handles stay clean and don’t get moldy, especially with proper care.

  • Very lightweight, great for travelling or backpacking.

  • Overall, the toothbrush is durable.

Cons

  • The bristles may fall out while brushing your teeth.

  • The head of the brush is a bit bigger than a regular plastic toothbrush and takes some getting used to.

  • There may be a strange flavor or smell with a new brush - this typically goes away if you soak it under hot water.

  • If you have really sensitive gums, the bristles are stiff. Running the brush under how water before using helps.

  • The bioplastic bristles cannot be composted - they are made from naturally derived ingredients instead of petroleum, but they still need to be disposed of properly.

  • The bristles are boar’s hair and are not vegan.


Kooler-Things Biodegradable Natural Charcoal Bamboo Toothbrushes

Pros

  • The handles are numbered so you can tell which toothbrush is yours, if you have more than one person using them in the house.

  • The bristles are made from BPA-free Nylon and infused with charcoal. The charcoal is part of the bristle and will not stain your teeth.

  • The handle is strong and is easy to hold and control during brushing.

  • The bristles are very soft and still do a good job of cleaning, while being gentle on the gums.

  • The packaging is plastic-free: the toothbrushes are delivered in a cardboard box.

  • The bristles stay in the toothbrush and don’t fall out.

Cons

  • The bristles are made from nylon, so you’ll need to remove the bristles with pliers first before composting the handle.

  • Although all the packaging is cardboard, it may feel like a waste of cardboard: each toothbrush is individually packed in cardboard and then those individual toothbrush boxes are packed in another box.

  • The numbers on the brushes are helpful, but they’re very small and sometimes printed lightly so they can be difficult to read.

  • For some, the bristles may be too soft and you won’t feel like your teeth are getting properly cleaned.

  • The wood can be a bit rough and may irritate your cheeks and lips.

  • Mold grows on these brushes pretty quickly, sometimes even in the box.


Isshah Biodegradable Eco-Friendly Natural Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrushes

Pros

  • The bristles are made from BPA-free nylon and hold their shape better than the bristles on a standard plastic toothbrush.

  • The cardboard packaging is simple and fully compostable or recyclable.

  • The bristles are soft, but not too soft, allowing you to have the feeling of a clean.

  • Each brush is labeled with a number so they’re easy to keep track of.

  • The brush is lightweight.

  • The bristles are shorter in the center of the head and higher on the edges, to reach under the gum line.

  • The toothbrush stays clean after brushing, with less toothpaste residue sticking to the actual brush and bristles.

Cons

  • Some bristles may fall out while you’re brushing in your mouth and can get stuck in between your teeth.

  • The wood may feel a bit rough against the lips and cheeks while brushing as though it hasn’t been sanded down fully.

  • Some people find either the bristles hurt their gums or the wood does.

  • The bristles may be too soft for people who are used to stiffer bristles.

  • The bristles are not biodegradable because they’re made from nylon so you’ll need to remove the bristles first before disposing.


Nuduko Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrush

Pros

  • The brushes come with black and white color bristles and they’re labeled with A, B, C, D, or E, so you know which one is yours.

  • The nylon bristles are BPA-free and have a medium firmness.

  • The bristles are durable

  • After using the brush for a few days, the bristles become softer and easier on sensitive gums.

  • The packaging is plastic-free and each toothbrush comes in its own individual cardboard box.

  • The handle is comfortable to hold and has a good length to reach the molars.

Cons

  • The bristles are not biodegradable because they’re made from nylon so you’ll need to remove the bristles first before disposing.

  • The bristles occasionally fall off the brush while brushing.

  • Because the bristles are a medium firmness, they may be rough on sensitive gums.

  • For people who prefer firmer bristles, the bristles soften up after a few days and lose their firmness.

  • The wood may be a bit rough on your cheeks and lips

  • Because each toothbrush is packaged individually, there is a lot of cardboard used.

  • The bamboo can start to peel and there could be risk of getting splinters in your mouth.


Our choice

Overall, our choice is the Gaia Guy Boar Bristle and Bamboo Toothbrush because the entire toothbrush is made from 100% natural and biodegradable materials. Most bamboo toothbrushes only have a biodegradable handle and nylon bristles that must be removed before disposting. Gaia Guy’s toothbrush, on the other hand, uses boar’s hair which is a natural material and will biodegrade if you toss the entire thing into your compost bin once you’re done.


The boar bristles are also soft enough for sensitive gums while also being firm enough to give you a clean feel. Although the bristles do fall out, we believe that completely avoiding plastic is worth the extra bit of time washing the brush.


We love the paper tube packaging they come in because it can be easily recycled or reused around the house.


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Sus·tain·a·bil·i·ty: avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.

Cham·pi·on: support the cause of; defend.

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