It’s not that I don’t take my oral health seriously, but generally speaking, I have a pretty hard time getting fired up about dental hygiene. And yet, when it comes to sustainable and renewable alternatives to ordinary instruments, my zero-emission engine really gets revving. That’s why the recent wave of bamboo toothbrushes has got me (and thousands like me) bristling with excitement!
In a world of cut-throat salesmanship and a never-ending supply of irrational needs to justify the invention of unnecessary products, the idea of a zero-waste and fully compostable bamboo toothbrush is a refreshing sight indeed. Put me on a desert island with an ample supply of tropical fruit and no access to wi-fi, and there are a million and one things I can easily do without. But a good toothbrush is not one of them. So it’s about time some brilliant engineers put their wisdom teeth together and started designing some even better toothbrushes.
Now let’s open wide and take a closer look and see what we can come up with when we apply a little sustainable ingenuity to this age-old implement of personal care.
NOTE: To make shopping even easier, we’ve included some affiliate links in this article.
What makes a great toothbrush?
It’s quite simple really. There are just two things you need in a toothbrush: a handle on one end and some bristles on the other. The problem is, for the few decades of my life, I never had the opportunity to use a single toothbrush that wasn’t made from plastic. And considering that most toothbrushes last for just a few months, that means I’m personally responsible for something between 100-200 discarded plastic toothbrushes, lingering away in landfills across southern California and the world. Multiply that times however many billion people, and you start to see the problem.
In recent decades, toothbrush makers have gotten increasingly creative, innovating all kinds of incredibly shaped contraptions for reaching those back molars. I never found any of them very convincing, although my kids are crazy for their toothbrushes that come shaped like giraffes and X-Wing fighters. But still, they’re always made from 100% plastic.
So when bamboo toothbrushes arrived on the scene, you better believe that this bamboo enthusiast sat up, took notice, and smiled a big shiny bright grin. So here’s a quick survey of a few bamboo toothbrushes that we’ve come across. And to make finding and purchasing them easier, we’ve included a few Amazon affiliate links in the article, as well as a couple links to our own bamboo shop.
Top Five Toothbrushes
The great thing about these toothbrushes is that they are entirely plant-based. Everything from the handle to the bristles to the packaging is made from bamboo and other plants, making it 100% compostable and biodegradable. Because we like these so much, we used to sell them at Bambu Batu.
The handle is made from Moso bamboo, cultivated from wild bamboo forests in the mountains of China, where no pesticides or fertilizers ever come near. Vegetable oil is the key ingredient in these bio-based bristles. The result is a well-functioning and ergonomic toothbrush that can be buried in your backyard or in your compost pile when you’re through using it.
The founders of Smile Squared were traveling on a humanitarian mission in Central America when it suddenly occurred to them just how important a good toothbrush is for a child in the developing world. It didn’t take them long to come up with a terrific way to make the world a better place.
For every toothbrush they sell, Smile Squared donates a child’s sized bamboo toothbrush to a child in need. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. What better way to pay it forward and promote good health in developing countries.
Smile Squared makes toothbrushes for children and adults, and they are sold individually or in sets of 4 or 6 on Amazon.
Honest Ninja now produces a line of bamboo toothbrushes with charcoal bristles. But before you clench your teeth in dismay, you might want to take a look at this article on the benefits of bamboo charcoal. Bamboo charcoal is very effective for purifying air and water, and also does a great job of whitening the teeth. The charcoal bristles are actually quite soft and gentle, and of course, the handle is made from bamboo as well.
Amazon sells these bamboo charcoal toothbrushes in sets of four, and the company offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so you can’t go wrong.
Oralogy offers a uniquely designed series of toothbrushes made from carved beauty, for an extra touch of style. The brushes come in a pack of four, each with a distinctly carved pattern. They also use soft nylon bristles infused with bamboo charcoal for additional whitening and disinfecting properties.
We also appreciate the fact that Oralogy donates a portion of its proceeds to 4Ocean, an organization devoted to removing plastic and garbage from the oceans and beaches.
One more reputable company delivering a high-quality bamboo toothbrush with charcoal-infused bristles, ECOFELLA takes a couple extra steps to make itself stand out. With every set of brushes they sell, they plant five trees in Madagascar, where 90% of the forests have been cut down. Customers also receive a free e-book entitled “63 Ways to reduce your waste”.
If you’re looking to pay it forward with your dental hygiene, this might be the best solution of all. EcoFella bamboo toothbrushes are available on Amazon in sets of four, each numbered, so you won’t lose track of whose is whose.
In the comments section below, let us know which bamboo toothbrush is your favorite to use. And until next time, keep on smiling!