Eco-Friendly Bamboo Toothbrushes

Swap out your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush to reduce plastic waste. Save our planet as you brush your way to squeaky clean teeth. We’ve found the best bamboo toothbrushes – our top picks are sustainable, eco-friendly and feel great on your teeth and gums.

Colored bamboo toothbrushes

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I’ve wanted to make the switch to a bamboo toothbrush for years now, but I thought the bristles looked hard and scratchy and the handles looked big and clunky. As a dentist’s daughter, I’ve always been loyal to my favorite toothbrush brand and have bought the same model with soft bristles and an all-around sleek design over and over again. But I really want to curb my use of plastic, especially since I throw away my toothbrushes about every 3 months (that’s what most dentists recommend).

Little did I know how much I’d love the bamboo toothbrushes now on the market. I tried 6 brands of bamboo toothbrushes and found that the bristles on all of the brushes are soft and the handles are not big and clunky. I’m feeling guilty that it took me this long to switch over to bamboo. If you haven’t made the switch, consider giving it a try. Here are some great reasons why we should all make the switch from a plastic toothbrush to bamboo:

According to National Geographic, most of us will use around 300 toothbrushes during our lifetime! The vast majority of these toothbrushes are plastic. Where do they all end up?

They’re dumped in our landfills or end up in our oceans, where they don’t fully break down for about 1000 years. The handle of a plastic toothbrush is made from polypropylene plastic and the bristles are nylon. Both types of plastic are sourced from non-renewable fossil fuels.

Facts About Plastic Waste

Choosing a biodegradable toothbrush means that you can help to reduce the amount of plastic waste piling up in our landfills and polluting the oceans. Since bamboo toothbrushes are biodegradable and eco-friendly, it makes perfect sense to switch out your plastic toothbrush and start using bamboo.

WHAT IS BAMBOO?

Bamboo is in the grass family, but it can be mistaken for a tree due to its woody stem. It’s one of the fastest growing plants in the world, and regenerates quickly after harvest. Bamboo is a renewable and sustainable resource, and does not need fertilizer to grow. Bamboo is also grown without the use of pesticides, as it is naturally resistant to pest and fungi infestation. One more reason to love bamboo – it’s biodegradable and decomposes within six months.

One species of bamboo, Moso bamboo, is not eaten by giant pandas, and is often used to make bamboo toothbrushes.

HOW LONG DO BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSHES LAST?

Just like with a plastic toothbrush, you’ll need to change out your bamboo toothbrush every 3 months. The bristles start to get worn out by normal wear and tear. A 2013 clinical study found that worn-out toothbrush bristles removed less plaque than a toothbrush with newer bristles. Bacteria also build up over time on toothbrush bristles. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush after getting over an illness like a cold or strep throat.

BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH BRISTLES

Most bristles on a bamboo toothbrush are made from nylon, the same as conventional toothbrushes. Nylon bristles are not biodegradable.

CARING FOR A BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH

Even though bamboo is anti-microbial, store your bamboo toothbrush in a spot where it won’t stay wet, like a cup without drain holes. Towel-dry the handle after each use.

6 Brands of Bamboo Toothbrushes

BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSHES TESTED

*Cost was calculated at the time this article was published, and is subject to change.

Olas Bamboo Toothbrush

  • Cost: $8.00
  • Sizes: One size toothbrush
  • Packaging: Toothbrush comes sealed in paper bag that is stored in a slim cardboard box.
  • My Take: This is the Mercedes Benz of bamboo toothbrushes. It costs considerably more than the other bamboo toothbrushes that I tested, but it is so well designed and well made that I easily fell in love with it. It has a rounded handle and is very ergonomically comfortable to use. This toothbrush has a lot of soft bristles packed into the head, and it was really nice to use. My gums are very sensitive and this toothbrush felt great on them. All in all, this was my favorite bamboo toothbrush that I tested.
  • From the Olas website: OLAS toothbrushes are eco-friendly and biodegradable. Offered in a natural bristle with a white handle and a charcoal bristle with a black handle, both are a beautiful addition to your bathroom routine. Sustainably sourced and 100% biodegradable, these bamboo toothbrushes are made from Mao bamboo and packaged in a recyclable cardboard box. Naturally BPA-free bristles.

f.e.t.e. Bamboo toothbrush

  • Cost: $4.99
  • Packaging: Toothbrush comes sealed in paper bag that is stored in a slim cardboard box.
  • My Take: This bamboo toothbrush comes in at a close second to the OLAS toothbrush and costs less. I love the rounded handle, and the bristles were super soft on my gums. I definitely recommend this toothbrush!
  • From the f.e.t.e. website: f.e.t.e.™ (from earth, to earth) Natural Bamboo Toothbrushes are biodegradable and eco-friendly. Bamboo is the worlds fastest naturally renewing resource which is also inherently anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. BPA-free Nylon bristles. Our bamboo toothbrushes are coloured with natural resin paint, a kind of plant paint – this allows you to compost your toothbrush handle. The bamboo we use is Moso bamboo and is not eaten by pandas.
  • Company Mission: For each purchase of this product, we will plant a tree.

The Humble Co. Bamboo Toothbrush

  • Cost: $2.20
  • Sizes: Adult soft and medium bristles. Kids ultra-soft bristles.
  • Packaging: Toothbrush comes sealed in paper bag that is stored in a slim cardboard box.
  • My Take: This is an all-around great toothbrush. The bristles are nice and soft and it felt great on my gums. It was slightly less ergonomically pleasing than the OLAS and f.e.t.e. toothbrushes, but for the price, I wouldn’t hesitate to use this for daily brushing!
  • From the Humble Co. website: The world’s most sold – for a reason. The original that took the world by storm. Cleans just as well as a plastic toothbrush but made from mother earth’s best invention, bamboo. Equipped with the highest quality bpa-free nylon bristles to ensure dentist approved results, this iconic toothbrush has to date sold in excess of 35 million pieces. Features: environmentally friendly packaging, vegan, cruelty free, dentist approved.
  • Company Mission: The Humble Smile Foundation delivers professional and sustainable healthcare projects in needed areas around the world, funded by your purchase.

WooBamboo Slim Soft Toothbrush

  • Cost: $4.95
  • Sizes: Adult brushes, kids brushes
  • Packaging: The toothbrush comes in a partially plastic container.
  • My Take: This toothbrush has nice soft bristles and a small head, so it works really well for smaller mouths, or even as a kids toothbrush. This was the only toothbrush I tested that had packaging that was partially plastic, so that’s something to consider. Otherwise, I liked the toothbrush.
  • From the WooBamboo website: All WooBamboo brushes boast a beautiful, ergonomic handle made from a single carved piece of naturally-grown Moso bamboo, and contain no toxins, glues, or paints. The handles for our brushes are naturally anti-microbial and coated in a natural soy bean wax, making them smooth and safe for oral use! The toothbrush handles are biodegradable and the bristles are high-quality & dental-grade, made from recyclable* material. All ink used on our packaging is soy based and the packaging itself is made from recycled materials that are (re)recyclable. BPF-free bristles.
  • Company Mission: We currently donate thousands of brushes each year to homeless shelters across the US and charities in multiple countries around the world.

Brush With Bamboo Toothbrush

  • Cost: $4.25
  • Sizes: Adult brushes, kids brushes
  • Packaging: Toothbrush comes in slim cardboard box.
  • My Take: This is the only bamboo toothbrush with 100% biobased bristles (made from castor bean oil). The head of the toothbrush was the biggest that I tried, so if you have a larger mouth, this is a great toothbrush. It also had really soft bristles and felt great on my gums.
  • From the Brush With Bamboo website: Every part of Brush with Bamboo’s Adult toothbrush is plant-based: bristles, handle, and box. Soft bristles made from 100% Castor Bean Oil. USDA Certified 100% Biobased. Bristles made in Germany. Bamboo handle. The box encasing the toothbrush is made from paper – no tape or glue is used. Your bamboo toothbrushes can be used for just as long as plastic toothbrushes. BPA-free. USDA Certified Biobased. Green American Certified. Certified 100% organic bamboo. Vegan. Non-GMO. Natural and Non-toxic.

Wowe Lifestyle Bamboo Toothbrush

  • Cost: $2.49
  • Packaging: Toothbrush comes in slim cardboard box.
  • My Take: This bamboo toothbrush had the stiffest bristles, even though they were “soft”. It also felt the bulkiest in my mouth. If you have a large mouth or like stiffer bristles, this toothbrush would work well.
  • From the Wowe Lifestyle website: Pack of 4 adult natural bamboo toothbrushes. No plastic in handle so more eco-friendly than traditional toothbrushes. Soft BPA free bristles made from high quality nylon. Plastic free packaging. Splinter and water resistant handle that is durable and does not require drying after use.

Isshah Kids Bamboo Toothbrushes

  • Cost: $2.25
  • Packaging: Cardboard box
  • My Take: This is the only bamboo toothbrush that I didn’t test since it’s made for kids. My kids are already using adult-sized toothbrushes, but I would not hesitate to have younger kids start using bamboo toothbrushes. It’s a great way to reduce plastic use while teaching kids to be good stewards of our environment.
  • From the Isshah website: The bristles are made from soft BPA-Free Germany imported nylon spiral bristles which can remove all dirty on teeth, Whiten teeth, Gently massage gums. Give your kids best bristles. The smooth & natural bamboo handle will never splinter and is water resistant. Stronger and harder than wood, Bamboo is also more durable and healthier than any plastic.

6 Brands of Bamboo Toothbrushes Reviewed

SHOP BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSHES

HOW TO DISPOSE OF A BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH

  • You’ll need a pair of pliers or tweezers and a small tray or mug to place the bristles in.
  • Grab a clump of bristles with the pinching end of the pliers or tweezers and pull. Use a back and forth rolling movement when pulling. Repeat until all bristles are removed.
  • Most bristles cannot be recycled (they are too small).
  • The staples used to hold the bristles in place are aluminum and can be recycled. Wrap the staples in some used aluminum foil in some old foil so they don’t get separated.
  • Put the bamboo handle in your home composting bin if you have one. If your city has a compost, you may be able to bring it there.
  • Another option is to stick it outside in the soil in your yard. First, break the bamboo handle into small pieces with a hammer or saw before burying it in the soil. This speeds up the decomposition process. The bamboo handle can take a few months to biodegrade, but, due to soil, temperature and atmosphere, it could take longer.
  • One more option is to use old toothbrushes for cleaning or use the bamboo handles for plant markers.

WHY I DON’T USE CHARCOAL DENTAL PRODUCTS

Several bamboo toothbrush brands carry charcoal-infused toothbrush bristles. Charcoal dental products can erode tooth enamel if used on a daily basis. A 2017 review found insufficient evidence to back up charcoal’s so-called teeth-beautifying benefits. I personally don’t feel comfortable using a toothbrush with charcoal-infused bristles that have the potential to erode the enamel on my teeth and have no proven benefits.

HOW TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH

first image via depositphotos