You’ve seen them everywhere and are probably wondering, are they just another passing fad or the latest trick to con the eco-conscious consumer out of a few extra bucks?
Or is there actually something to these little bamboo sticks with funky colors and strange names like Greenzla and Natboo and Bambalambaloo?
Well, the advantages of bamboo toothbrushes are clear. They avoid unnecessary plastic waste, are made from the world’s fast-growing renewable resource (bamboo), and are also considered to be as durable and effective as plastic and even electric toothbrushes.
That being said, actually finding and choosing the best bamboo toothbrush is not so straightforward. Not all bamboo toothbrushes are as environmentally friendly as they say they are, and, if you don’t look after them properly, they may not last you more than a few weeks.
But before we get to our pick of the best biodegradable toothbrush (scroll down to get straight to it), it’s helpful to understand the incredible benefits that can come from ditching plastic brushes and converting to these bamboo beauties every day.
Let’s dive into the top 5 bamboo toothbrush benefits.
Table of Contents
Top 5 Benefits of Bamboo Toothbrushes
#1 Bamboo Toothbrush BenefitS
Bamboo Toothbrushes Are (Mostly) Biodegradable
It’s well known now that plastic takes around 400 years to decompose, and therefore, single and temporary-use plastics are a straight-up bad idea for the environment.
This is why, several years ago, bamboo toothbrushes rose to fame as an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic toothbrushes.
Bamboo toothbrushes can fully break down within 4-6 months in a home or commercial compost bin, depending on what else is in there with them. If everyone in the world did this, the amount of plastic that would be prevented from ending up in landfill and our oceans is staggering.
However, there’s one catch. For a long time, the bristles of bamboo toothbrushes were made solely from either animal hair—meaning they were not vegan and typically not cruelty-free—or nylon—meaning they were not actually 100% biodegradable. The answer was to remove the bristles with pliers before composting (if that was even possible).
Thankfully, today there are bristles made from eco-friendly, plant-based materials, and as a result, bamboo toothbrushes that are 100% biodegradable. These are often called bio-based bristles and include materials like castor bean oil and other vegetable oils.
#2 bamboo toothbrush benefits
Bamboo Toothbrushes Clean Your Teeth As Good As Other Toothbrushes
Devices for cleaning teeth, such as twigs, chalk, and rags, have been used since 3000 BC.
But when it comes to the bristle toothbrush that most of us use today, one of the earliest types was actually made from bamboo and invented in 1498 in China.
With a longer history of use than pretty much any other bristle brush, bamboo toothbrushes have stood the test of time. They are durable, ergonomic, light, and perhaps best of all, according to the reports of many people who use them, they clean teeth just as well as any other toothbrush—electric included!
#3 bamboo toothbrush benefits
Bamboo Toothbrushes Help Reduce 2 Empire State Buildings of Plastic Toothbrush Waste
It’s recommended you change your toothbrush every 1-3 months or whenever you first notice there’s some damage to the bristles.
Doing this regularly adds up to 4 toothbrushes per year. Now, let’s be conservative and say you change your toothbrush twice a year for the next 45 years. That’s nearly 100 toothbrushes thrown away. And remember, you’re just one person out of billions.
So if we expand this out to the whole world, there are approx 3.6 billion toothbrushes bought annually. Given the fact that 99% of these are made from plastic, this adds up to around 3.5 billion plastic toothbrushes that are thrown away each year.
If we know that each plastic toothbrush weighs about 18 grams, this amounts to 630,000,000 kgs or 630,000 tons. This is more than 2 Seawise Giants, one of the heaviest ships in the world that broke many size records (520,000 tons in total), and nearly 2 Empire State Buildings (730,000 tons in total) worth of plastic that is thrown away and destroying habits and endangering marine and wildlife each year.
Most of us will use around 300 toothbrushes in our lifetime. One change we can all make to help minimize the impact of plastic waste is to switch to bamboo toothbrushes. In fact, one recent study in Nature (2020) showed that bamboo toothbrushes are one of the best options for the environment when compared to traditional plastic toothbrushes and electric toothbrushes.
If you’re still not convinced, consider the fact that Kahi Pacarro, the founder of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, says that in any given Hawaii beach cleanup, it’s not uncommon for them to pick up 20 or even 100 toothbrushes a day. If there’s one advantage of a bamboo toothbrush that stands above all, it’s that it never has to pollute our oceans and environments.
#4 Bamboo Toothbrush Benefits
Bamboo Toothbrushes Are Made From a Renewable Resource That's Naturally Organic
Bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on Earth. Some species can grow over 3 feet (1 meter) a day and up to over 130 feet (40m) tall.
On top of that, as a colony plant of the grass family, when it’s cut, the bamboo plant isn’t damaged and it doesn’t need to be replanted as it uses the energy of the existing plant to grow and send up more shoots.
If that wasn’t enough, bamboo can also grow with very little water, without the use of fertilizers or pesticides (due to having few natural pests and possessing antibacterial properties), and it can even naturally sequester carbon and release large amounts of oxygen into the atmosphere.
If you compare that to the production of plastic, well, it takes millions of years to form crude oil, and turning that crude oil into a plastic toothbrush can pollute water, expose workers to harmful chemicals, emit harmful emissions, and release significant amounts of carbon into the atmosphere (not to mention plastics take centuries to degrade).
The result is that bamboo has a much smaller environmental footprint than plastic and cultivating it for products and fabrics can even benefit the environment when done in a sustainable manner.
#5 bamboo toothbrush benefits
Bamboo Toothbrushes Help You Avoid Accidentally Consuming More Microplastics
Plastic is everywhere—inside our water, in the air, in the food we eat. So, perhaps it’s not too surprising that it’s now been proven to also be inside of us.
Microplastics and microfibers shed off over time with most types of plastic, gradually making their way into every nook and cranny. According to several studies, we eat a credit card’s worth of plastic every week, with plastic being found in human feces, placentas, and also the bloodstream.
It isn’t yet clear what this means exactly for our health. But one thing is clear: it can’t be good.
Now, consider the fact that most of us put plastic bristles in our mouths and scrub our teeth with them at least twice a day. We can only guess how many plastic microfibers this could produce and that we could be indirectly consuming each day.
Plastic releases toxins over time, so any accumulation of plastic in the body may hinder and damage its vital systems.
In the future, plastic toothbrushes may come with clear warnings. But until then, you owe it to your health to choose a brush with bristles that are at least chemical and BPA-free, but ideally, that are made from alternative bio-based materials that don’t shed microplastics.
The Final Verdict: Bamboo Toothbrushes Vs. Plastic Toothbrushes
The type of toothbrush you use seems to be a somewhat insignificant decision in terms of its impact on the environment when compared to other choices we make, such as the cars we drive, the flights we take, etc.
However, this seemingly small choice adds up to create a huge impact—so much so that, if all of us used more eco-friendly toothbrushes, 1000s of tonnes of plastic would be prevented from being created and from polluting the environment.
Best of all, the advantages of a bamboo toothbrush don’t stop there. They actually clean your teeth well, some are 100% biodegradable, and they can be better for your health if they’re not made with plastic bristles.
So, next time you replace your toothbrush (dentists recommended every 3 to 4 months or when there’s visible damage to the bristles), why not become part of the global shift towards more environmentally-friendly oral care and make it a bamboo one?
The #1 Best Bamboo Toothbrush For You & The Environment
#1 best bamboo toothbrush
Brush with Bamboo Toothbrush with Plant-Based Bristles - 4 Pack
Claiming to be the world’s best biodegradable toothbrush (I would have to agree), this bamboo toothbrush from Brush With Bamboo has a handle made from FSC® Certified bamboo and USDA-certified 100% biobased bristles.
This makes it one of the very few 100% biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes on the market.
Its soft bristles are made from 100% castor bean oil, meaning zero plastic needs to enter your mouth when brushing your teeth ever again. If that wasn’t enough, they are also ergonomically shaped and come in compostable plant-based packaging.
Grab a few packs for yourself and even for your family and your friends (I buy a year’s supply at a time), so that together we can contribute to a cleaner environment every single day.
Advantages of the best biodegradable bamboo toothbrush you can buy:
• Sustainable and ergonomic 100% bamboo handle
• 100% Biobased bristles made from castor bean oil (EU made)
• Company headquartered in California, USA
• Compostable plant-based packaging
• Lasts just as long as a plastic toothbrush
This article includes links to trusted websites where you can purchase some of the highest-quality bamboo products, hand-picked and reviewed by me. By clicking these links, you help support my work and I may earn a small commission (I never take payments to promote products). Thank you Panda-lovers!