People everywhere are starting to realize the impacts and consequences of purchasing consumables that could potentially damage their bodies and the earth. New surges of reusable and/or biodegradable versions of familiar plastic products are entering the market with force and gaining momentum and support of their beliefs and sustainable practices.

Most have already seen the reusable grocery bags, water bottles, straws and hand towels but one thing most don’t associate with litter and pollution is much of the dental hygiene world.

Although it is certainly not a common practice among consumers, most dental practitioners suggest that you replace your toothbrush after about 3-5 months of regular use or sooner if the brush has frayed or become less effective in other ways. If everyone followed these guidelines from an early age of using traditional toothbrushes, on average, by the time you are 21, you would have deposited roughly 80 toothbrushes per person into dead end trash cycles. Most toothbrushes are petroleum plastic based so they are not recyclable and will never biodegrade, not to mention the potential for ecological damage.

Companies have responded to this dilemma by fashioning toothbrushes made out of antimicrobial bamboo. Many of these companies are small and not well known so we decided to buy three brands and compare them side by side with a traditional plastic brush as a control. While the bristles of the bamboo toothbrushes are still made of that same plastic for performance reasons, the handles, which make up more than 90% of the mass, are completely returnable to the earth. So if you have been meaning to switch but don’t know where to start or how these products compare, the following guide will give you some perspective.

For the test we purchased standard toothbrushes from the companies Woobamboo, WowE Life Style, and Ernest Supplies. Each toothbrush was relatively similar in composition; there were only slight differences in shape, brush arrangement and density, and aesthetics. The Ernest Supplies’ brush is a little more beautiful than the others and has active charcoal in the bristles but, the price is a little over double the others and there has been little visible performance difference.


You can read the other half of this article on The Daily Campus here: