The best bamboo toothbrush
Many consumers are seeking products that are more sustainable and friendlier to the planet. Toothbrushes are no exception. By one estimate, a billion plastic toothbrushes are disposed of in the United States every single year. And because plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose, toothbrushes pile up in the landfill fast.
Fortunately, a green alternative is rapidly gaining popularity: the bamboo toothbrush. Their handles are sourced from bamboo, a highly sustainable and sturdy material. To keep up with the demand, more and more companies are manufacturing these eco-friendly items, and we've created this brief shopping guide to help you sort through your options. Our top pick is the bamboo brush by WowE, which keeps teeth clean with its soft nylon bristles.
Bamboo is a plant that resembles wood but is actually a grass. As the fastest growing plant in the world, bamboo is considered a renewable resource, and it regenerates quickly after harvest. It also doesn't require fertilizer to grow. It has impressive durability and boasts a better strength-to-weight ratio than brick, concrete, or wood. Lastly, this material is biodegradable and decomposes within six months.
Considerations when choosing bamboo toothbrushes
While the handle of all bamboo toothbrushes are constructed from bamboo, the bristles are another story. Most bristles are made from nylon, which is the same bristle material used in conventional toothbrushes. Nylon bristles can be produced soft or hard and are not biodegradable. Biodegradable options include boar's-hair bristles and plant-based bristles, which are made from corn or, less commonly, tapioca.
Care and disposal
Bamboo toothbrushes require a little more care to maintain than your average toothbrush. We recommend storing your bamboo toothbrush in a spot where it won't get wet and even towel-drying the handle after each use. Disposal is another issue. It defeats the purpose to toss a bamboo toothbrush in the trash. For it to be sustainable, bamboo toothbrushes need to be composted, recycled, or repurposed. If the brush has nylon bristles, those must be removed, which can be done with a pair of pliers, before proper disposal.
Number of brushes
Bamboo toothbrushes typically come in packs when bought via online retailers. A pack of four will generally last an individual a year. If you have a larger household, select a pack with toothbrushes labeled with numbers or different colors (either bristles or ends) to differentiate individual family member's toothbrushes.
Bamboo toothbrush features
Charcoal-infused bristles are a trendy feature and great for whitening your teeth while you brush. Activated charcoal is a natural, safe substance that absorbs tannins and stains caused by cigarettes, red wine, and coffee. They'll also help combat bad breath.
Biodegradable packaging is another way to do your part in reducing landfill waste. Select a toothbrush that comes in recycled or recyclable packaging or that can be composted after purchase.
Bamboo toothbrush prices
Bamboo toothbrushes can cost under $2 a brush when bought in a pack. You can purchase a pack of four for under $8. The most expensive packs, between $20 and $40, are the most cost-effective and supply you with 20 to 30 brushes.
Q. How long will my bamboo toothbrush last?
A. Bamboo toothbrushes last as long as plastic ones do. While some manufacturers advertise that their bamboo toothbrush lasts up to a year, you should follow the American Dental Association's recommendation to change out your bamboo toothbrush every three to four months.
Q. Can I throw my bamboo toothbrush in the compost when I'm done with it?
A. You absolutely can, but first you must remove the nylon bristles. Unfortunately, nylon bristles can't be composted or recycled and must be put in the trash. Only boar's-hair bristles are compostable.
Bamboo toothbrushes we recommend
Best of the best: WowE Natural Bamboo Toothbrush
Our take: An ergonomic set of four bamboo toothbrushes with zero plastic waste.
What we like: Individually numbered brushes are great for families. Packaging is made from recycled materials. Long-lasting ergonomic handle.
What we dislike: "Soft" nylon bristles may still feel too firm for some.
Best bang for your buck: bmbu Bamboo Toothbrush
Our take: A four-pack of charcoal-infused bristles at an affordable price point.
What we like: Charcoal helps whiten teeth. Form-fitting ergonomic-shaped handle. Medium-soft bristles for users seeking a harder brush.
What we dislike: Toothbrush head can chafe some users' lips and mouth.
Our take: Everything from the bristles to the wrapper is planted-based for all-around plant-powered teeth cleaning.
What we like: Medium-soft bristles are made from vegetable-oil base. Packaging is biodegradable and also plant-based. Comes in a pack of four.
What we dislike: Pricier than other brands.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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