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Eco Toothbrush Guide: Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrushes and More

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Using a bamboo toothbrush is a simple way to make your oral hygiene routine more environmentally friendly. More and more people are becoming aware of the problem of single-use plastics and using an eco toothbrush is one way you can reduce your contribution to the problem.

plastic and bamboo toothbrush
Thinking of switching from plastic to a bamboo toothbrush?

Bamboo toothbrushes in the UK have come a long way in the last few years and are now just as good as their plastic alternatives. We understand it's a big change to make to your lifestyle, so we've put together this guide where we'll talk about:

  • What exactly is a bamboo toothbrush?
  • What are the benefits of using a bamboo toothbrush?
  • Can I use a different type of eco-friendly toothbrush?
  • Can I give my kids a bamboo toothbrush?
  • What are the options for recycling?

Some people might be unable to use a bamboo toothbrush, for instance because of sensory issues. If that's the case,  we have articles about plastic manual toothbrushes as well as electric toothbrushes that you can also check out.

The table below has our top picks for environmental toothbrush options in the UK, but you can keep reading to find out about all of these and more.

Best Eco Toothbrushes

Bamboogaloo bamboo toothbrush

Bamboogaloo Organic Rainbow Bamboo Toothbrushes

Check the latest price

Pack of 5
Plastic-free packaging
Different coloured heads

Hello Boo biodegradable toothbrushes

Check the latest price

Pack of 8
Soft and medium bristles available
Different coloured heads

Greenzla bamboo charcoal toothbrush

Check the latest price

Pack of 4
Includes bamboo floss and bamboo toothbrush case
Natural whitening effect

Wake-UK kids' bamboo toothbrush

Check the latest price

Pack of 5
Small brush heads
Soft bristles
Available for ages 3-5 and 6+

TePe Good Eco brush

TePe Good Eco Toothbrush

Check the latest price

96% bio-based plastic
Soft bristles
Best Eco Toothbrushes

Bamboogaloo Organic Bamboo Toothbrushes

Pack of 5
Plastic-free packaging
Different coloured heads

Check the latest price

Hello Boo biodegradable toothbrushes

Pack of 8
Soft and medium bristles available
Different coloured heads

Check the latest price

Greenzla bamboo charcoal toothbrush

Pack of 4
Includes bamboo floss and bamboo toothbrush case
Natural whitening effect

Check the latest price

Wake-UK kids' bamboo toothbrush

Pack of 5
Small brush heads
Soft bristles
Available for ages 3-5 and 6+

Check the latest price

TePe Good Eco Toothbrush

96% bio-based plastic
Soft bristles

Check the latest price

What is a bamboo toothbrush?

bamboo wooden toothbrushes
The design is similar to traditional plastic brushes

A bamboo toothbrush looks pretty much the same as any regular toothbrush you've used, but with one key difference. Instead of being made from plastic, it has a wooden toothbrush handle. Most manufacturers don't add much colour to them so you can see the natural grain of the wood.

The bristles are normally still made of plastic nylon, though. Although it's not the perfect eco solution, there are things that you can do to reduce the environmental impact of these plastic bristles. We'll cover this in more detail a little later.

The packaging of a non-plastic toothbrush might look a little different, too. The plastic that your normal toothbrush comes is isn't great for the environment, so you'll find bamboo toothbrushes usually come in cardboard boxes. If they're wrapped in plastic it's usually biodegradable, but check the wrapper just to be sure.

Why use a wooden bamboo toothbrush?

It may never have occurred to you how many toothbrushes you use in your lifetime. If you're changing your toothbrush every three months like dentists recommend, then you'll probably go through around 300 of them. That works out at about 3.6 billion toothbrushes worldwide, every year.

That's a lot of plastic going into landfill or ending up in oceans. But you can do you bit to reduce the problem by using a bamboo toothbrush. Some of the great benefits of using bamboo include:

  • It's fast-growing, meaning it's a sustainable resource
  • It captures a lot of carbon as it grows; around 30% more than most other wood
  • There's no need to chop down swathes of rainforest to grow it
  • It has antimicrobial properties, meaning that bacteria are less likely to grow on it

Using a bamboo biodegradable toothbrush means that once you're finished with it, it will decompose quickly. A bamboo toothbrush can decompose in as little as four months. Compare that to the thousands of years your plastic toothbrush takes to break down and you can see the benefit to the environment.

This talk by David Trujillio explains some of the great benefits of using bamboo for lots of different applications:

The best bamboo toothbrush in the UK

If you've started doing some research, you'll know there are lots of different bamboo toothbrushes in the UK to choose from. There isn't any special technology that sets particular ones apart, but there are some small differences to look out for. These include:

  • Bristles: Soft to medium bristles are gentler on gums, and the recommended choice from many dental organisations. You can also get a bamboo toothbrush with firm bristles if you prefer a more forceful brush.
  • Handle: Aside from being made from bamboo, it should be thoroughly polished to eliminate any chance of hurting your mouth or hands as you brush.
  • Head size: A small head is best for kids. For adults, it's a matter of personal preference.
  • Packaging: As mentioned above, this is generally recyclable. But it's worth double-checking before you buy.
  • Colours: When buying for your family, you may want to pick a multi-coloured rainbow set to easily keep track of whose is whose. Others have different icons printed on each handle or even different handle shapes to tell them apart.

So, with all this in mind, let's take a look at some of the best bamboo toothbrushes in the UK today. These are all available on Amazon so once you've made your choice you can buy straight away.

Bamboogaloo organic bamboo toothbrush

bamboo wooden toothbrush
A popular bamboo toothbrush that ticks all the eco boxes

As far as natural toothbrushes go, this one is extremely popular. People who buy it love that the makers have thought of everything, right down to the plant cellulose wrapping that keeps each brush hygienically packaged until you use it.

They come in different colours, making it easy to know whose brush is whose in the bathroom. The set also comes with some bamboo cotton buds and eco-friendly dental floss, so you can give your whole bathroom routine an overhaul.

One reviewer says of the toothbrush:

I love the different colours so there’s no argument in the bathroom. My teeth have never felt so clean and I’ve used an electric toothbrush for years! Can’t recommend this product enough.

These brushes have medium-firm bristles, but Bamboogaloo's bamboo charcoal toothbrushes and kids' bamboo toothbrushes both have softer bristles and come equally highly reviewed.

Hello Boo biodegradable toothbrushes

best bamboo toothbrush review
Pack of 8 in fun colours

This biodegradable toothbrush comes in a range of funky colours, great for getting the whole family on board with helping reduce plastic waste. The soft nylon bristles won't harm your gums, and the contoured bristles help reach around your teeth and massage gums at the same time. They also sell the same set with medium bristles, if you prefer.

The bristles are made of BPA-free plastic (more on this later), and the company offers a money-back satisfaction guarantee so you can buy without risk.

Some other purchase options include this set with two brushes and two bamboo toothbrush holders, perfect for travelling. They also make these ones for kids. All their brushes have ergonomic handles, designed to be comfortable to hold and easy to grip.

Greenzla bamboo charcoal toothbrush

bamboo charcoal toothbrush and case
These brushes may help whiten teeth

A charcoal bamboo toothbrush has charcoal infused in the bristles. This has two main benefits:

  1. Charcoal has antibacterial properties, helping to keep your mouth hygienic
  2. It soaks up stains on your teeth, giving a whitening effect

This bamboo toothbrush from Greenzla has soft bristles for a gentle but effective clean. You also get a spool of bamboo charcoal dental floss and a bamboo travel toothbrush case when you buy this pack of 4.

“I love these brushes! They are so strong and the brush is so soft! The best toothbrush I've used!” says one happy customer. Another comments that the bristles are “a little too soft” for her. If you prefer medium-firm bristles then you might prefer this set from A One.

Read more about the benefits of activated charcoal for teeth.

Wake-UK kids' bamboo toothbrush

kids bamboo toothbrush
These eco toothbrushes have smaller heads for kids

Kids need a different sized toothbrush to make sure that their smaller teeth still all get well brushed. Eco bamboo toothbrush makers have thought of this and make their toothbrushes in kids sizes too.

Wake-UK make theirs in two sizes: one for kids aged 3-5 and another for ages 6+. They all feature soft bristles and come individually wrapped in paper sleeves for better hygiene.

Best of all, the handles have fun animal deigns which kids can colour in or paint to add some extra personalisation to their brush!

“Love the little woodland animals on these, definitely a huge appeal to kids, especially as they can be personalised and coloured in. Really nice, soft bristles and all in a lovely eco-friendly package. I've used the baby version of these too and they're great! Highly recommended,” says one reviewer.

Wild & Stone baby bamboo toothbrush

baby toothbrush plastic-free
Bamboo toothbrush for babies

For the really little ones, these baby toothbrushes from Wild & Stone are a great choice. The very small brush heads and super soft bristles make them suitable for babies with their first tooth up to around age three.

They're organic, vegan-friendly and plastic-free apart from the nylon bristles. The brushes feel and look premium, so much so that you could even give them as a gift.

Once your child turns three they should be able to switch to the slightly larger children's bamboo toothbrushes from Wild & Stone.

Other types of eco-friendly toothbrush in the UK

After reading bamboo toothbrush reviews, if you decide they're not for you, there are some other options. One choice is to use a Foreo Issa electric toothbrush. Although not cheap, the silicone used for the head means it lasts a lot longer than a normal toothbrush and only needs to be changed once a year.

TePe also have a new toothbrush available called TePe Good. It's made out of 96% bio-based plastic, making it a much more environmentally friendly toothbrush.

Another option for an eco toothbrush is this one from Yaweco. Although it's still made of plastic, you can keep the handle forever and only change the bristles. This means that only a very small amount of plastic is getting thrown away every time you change the head.

Bamboo toothbrush FAQs

How do I recycle a bamboo toothbrush?

Most biodegradable toothbrushes will still use a little bit of plastic in the bristles. To make sure you are helping the environment, pull out the bristles with pliers and drop them into plastic recycling before disposing of the handle. The handle can then go into a compost heap or – to make it more fun for kids – be buried in your garden to break down over time!

How do I care for my biodegradable bamboo toothbrush?

A bamboo toothbrush is just like any other toothbrush when it comes to caring for it. These are the things to do to keep it clean and in good condition:

  • Rinse it thoroughly with water after you've finished using it
  • Store it in the open – putting it in a case or cupboard means bacteria is likely to grow
  • Stand it up with the head at the top so any excess water drains away
  • Don't let toothbrush heads touch so there's no exchange of bacteria

Are there any other eco-friendly dental products?

eco friendly electric toothbrush heads
Recyclable toothbrush heads are another eco-friendly option

Yes, you can also get environmentally-friendly products like dental floss. Normal floss is made from nylon, but you can get plant-based floss, such as the Zero Waste World Charcoal Dental Floss. Read about more options including silk, bamboo and corn floss in our eco floss guide.

If you've already invested in an electric toothbrush, you can get eco-friendly toothbrush head replacements. These Live Coco heads work with most Oral-B electric brushes and when you've finished with them you can send them back to the company for recycling.

Can I get a bamboo electric toothbrush?

At the moment, there aren't any bamboo electric toothbrushes on the market. Some companies are working on bamboo electric toothbrush heads which will be compatible with popular electric toothbrushes. But right now, these are not sufficiently well developed.

How long does a bamboo toothbrush last?

Since bamboo toothbrushes work the same as normal toothbrushes, you can expect them to last just as long. You should be changing your toothbrush every three months, or sooner if the bristles start to fray. Some manufacturers say their brushes last much longer – up to 12 months – but we don't recommend using any toothbrush for that long.

Are there any other considerations when buying a bamboo toothbrush?

Although most still use nylon bristles, some brushes use pig or boar hair to make it a completely plastic-free toothbrush. This isn't a great solution since the hair is hollow and bacteria is likely to grow in there. You also can't be assured of the treatment of the animals when they were reared and this is a concern to many.

You might also want to check that your bristles are BPA-free. BPA is a chemical used in some plastics and can have adverse health effects. The manufacturer should be clear about whether their bristles are BPA-free.

Some biodegradable toothbrushes also claim to have environmentally friendly, decomposing bristles. This type of bristle will be made from Nylon-4, but this is still a petroleum-based plastic, which isn't great, and it has only been proven to decompose quickly under certain conditions.

Conclusion

As people are becoming more environmentally conscious, making small changes to everyday habits is becoming more common. From saying no to plastic straws, to switching to an eco toothbrush, there are lots of little things that you can do to help reduce plastics in landfill and the ocean. We have some other ideas for natural tooth care here.

Using a bamboo toothbrush no longer means compromising on how well your teeth get brushed. Wooden brushes are just as good quality as plastic brushes; you just need to take a little more care when disposing of them.

Eco Toothbrush Guide: Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrushes and More
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Contributors:
Amanda Napitu
Amanda Napitu
Amanda Napitu on FacebookAmanda Napitu on LinkedinAmanda Napitu on Website
Amanda specialises in writing informative content about dentistry. She has been a regular contributor to Dentaly.org since 2017.
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