Bamboo toothbrushes have become super trendy and are great for the environment. Bamboo isn’t just a renewable resource, but the material is also biodegradable, which means it can be disposed of without harming the planet. Using this alternative instead of traditional toothbrushes could greatly reduce the amount of trash in our landfills. In fact, across the globe, humans produce over 368 million metric tons of plastic every year, usually ending up in landfills. The ADA recommends that we change toothbrushes every three months; imagine how many plastic toothbrushes contribute to the masses of plastic that pollute the Earth.
It almost sounds too good to be true, right? Nobody likes to be bamboozled, so let’s cut to the chase: are bamboo toothbrushes actually good for cleaning your teeth?
Brush-Up On History
Toothbrushes have existed for hundreds of years- to an extent. Toward the beginning of human civilization, people used things like frayed twigs, animal hair, and even feathers to try to clean their teeth. The Chinese were the first civilization to invent a real toothbrush. These were generally made with bristles attached to the end of bones or, you guessed it, pieces of bamboo. Before this ground-breaking invention, they would chew on sticks from good-smelling trees in order to prevent bad breath.
Are Bamboo Toothbrushes Better?
Let's take a look at reasons why bamboo toothbrushes are beneficial:
- Unlike most plants, bamboo doesn’t require any pesticides or harsh chemical fertilizers, which makes it safe for your mouth.
- Bamboo naturally contains antimicrobial properties, which are agents that can kill and stop the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Bristles made with plant-based materials such as tapioca, corn, and castor bean oil, are gentle on the enamel. Some companies also infuse these bristles with charcoal for an extra power boost.
- Bamboo toothbrushes are highly sanitary. They are naturally resistant to fungus and mold.
However, not all companies make bamboo toothbrushes 100% plant-based. Not only does this taint the concept of a completely biodegradable toothbrush, it can also be bad for your teeth. Just like you would with toothpaste, be sure to check the ingredients!
- Nylon bristles, which are essentially thick plastic, are abrasive and can wear down the enamel of your teeth over time.
- Your enamel is an important line of defense against the roughness of activities like chewing and grinding. It also acts as an insulator for your teeth, protecting them from temperatures and chemicals that otherwise might be painful.
- While boar hair bristles are biodegradable, they are even rougher than nylon.
- As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid brushing with tough bristles. They erode tooth enamel and can even cause gum recession.
A few brands that manufacture 100% plant based toothbrushes (no nylon or boar hair bristles) include:
As long as the brush you choose has soft bristles, bamboo toothbrushes are great for your teeth, which you’ll be showing off when you smile knowing that you’ve done your part to protect the Earth.