The bamboo toothbrush has 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 and oral hygiene routine, so we've put together this guide where we'll address your concerns, such as:
- 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, perhaps because of sensory issues with wooden toothbrushes. 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 natural toothbrush options in the US, but you can keep reading to find out more about all of these and more.
Table of contents
- 1 What is a bamboo toothbrush?
- 2 Benefits of bamboo toothbrushes
- 3 The best bamboo toothbrush in the US
- 4 Other types of eco-friendly toothbrush in the US
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 Bamboo toothbrush FAQs
- 6.1 How do I recycle a bamboo toothbrush?
- 6.2 How do I care for my biodegradable bamboo toothbrush?
- 6.3 Are there any other eco-friendly dental products?
- 6.4 Can I get a bamboo electric toothbrush?
- 6.5 How long does a bamboo toothbrush last?
- 6.6 Are there any other considerations when buying a bamboo toothbrush?
What is a bamboo toothbrush?
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 color 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.
Benefits of bamboo toothbrushes
If the concept of bamboo toothbrushes is new to you, you may be surprised to hear about all of the bamboo toothbrush benefits that exist.
It also may never have occurred to you how many toothbrushes you use in your lifetime. If you're changing your toothbrush every three months as 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 landfills or ending up in oceans. But you can do your bit to reduce the problem by using a wooden 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 by using an all-natural toothbrush.
This short United Nations video talks about how bamboo is a more environmentally-friendly alternative to many common materials:
The best bamboo toothbrush in the US
There are lots of choices available for wooden toothbrushes in the US. We'll show you our top picks for the best natural toothbrush and explain why you might consider using them.
Best bamboo toothbrush overall
The Wowe bamboo toothbrush takes the cake for best overall. This natural toothbrush comes in a pack of four, either to last a single person a whole year, or to provide one for everyone in the family. What's more, the packaging is 100% plastic-free and made from completely recycled material.
One Wowe bamboo toothbrush reviewer says:
“Enter this toothbrush, with a nice ergonomic handle and very soothing soft bristles. Aside from the eco-friendliness (they're apparently also compostable), they really do have a nice feeling on my gums.”
Best rainbow bamboo toothbrush
What could make brushing your teeth more fun than a colorful rainbow bamboo toothbrush? These natural toothbrushes feature soft nylon bristles and a smooth bamboo ergonomic handle. The packaging is 100% recycled and biodegradable.
One satisfied customer says:
“I love these! I've started giving them to people to help them start living more eco friendly lifestyle. So far everyone has loved them- most of my friends are queer, so we all love the rainbow bristles.”
Best bamboo charcoal toothbrush
A charcoal bamboo toothbrush has charcoal infused into the bristles. This has two main benefits:
- Charcoal has antibacterial properties, helping to keep your mouth clean
- It soaks up stains on your teeth, giving a whitening effect
If these are things that interest you, you should try Bamboozled's bamboo toothbrush with charcoal infused bristles. In this pack, you get eight brushes, and the bamboo is sourced from sustainable bamboo farms. A flexible, ergonomic handle design helps you get the best results, and the grip stays smooth due to an olive oil finish.
Read more about the benefits of activated charcoal for teeth.
Best biodegradable bamboo toothbrush
This original non-nylon bamboo toothbrush made by TEF features bristles made from charcoal, bamboo fiber and Bio-Pet which is a mix of food-based starches, and biodegrades much faster than nylon.
The package comes with four adult toothbrushes and the packaging is made from recycled paper.
TEF also claims that the bristles they use are softer on your gums than nylon.
Best bamboo toothbrush made in the USA
Natural products won't help the planet quite as much as they could if they weren't flown here on a carbon dioxide-spewing airliner. If you're as dedicated to using biodegradable products as you are to buying local, then you may want to consider the Brush with Bamboo toothbrush. According to their website, this is a wooden toothbrush with natural bristles made from castor bean oil in the US, and the bamboo handle is organic.
One person says in their bamboo toothbrush review:
“These are perfect! It took just a little getting used to since the brush head is a little bigger than my old toothbrushes. Other than that I have no complaints!”
Best Kids' Bamboo Toothbrush
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.
For a good value kids' bamboo toothbrush, this Gondola Kids Bamboo Toothbrush is a great choice. It's small enough for a child's mouth and the bristles are super soft so it won't irritate their young gums.
Other types of eco-friendly toothbrush in the US
After reading bamboo toothbrush reviews, if you decide they're not for you, there are some other options, whether you're still looking for a wooden toothbrush or you'd like another material.
You may want to try the Yunli wheat toothbrush. This natural bristle toothbrush features a handle made from natural wheat straw, and bristles made from bamboo. It also comes in compostable packaging, so you can't go wrong!
Another option is to use a toothbrush with silicone bristles. 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.
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 landfills and the ocean.
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.
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?
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 this pure silk eco floss.
Speaking of floss, can you imagine how many plastic flossers end up in the trash? If you prefer to use flossers to brush your teeth, you don't have to stop in order to care for the environment. Instead, you can also get biodegradable flossers. Don't forget to pull the nylon out before you throw the handle in the compost.
Can I get a bamboo electric toothbrush?
At the moment, there aren't any bamboo electric toothbrushes on the market or any bamboo electric toothbrush heads.
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.
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 the most convenient solution since the hair is hollow and bacteria can grow there, so they require more thorough cleaning. 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.