What’s Up With Bamboo Toothbrushes?
Concerned about plastics and the environment? Do you want to make more informed decisions about your use of plastic? Have you heard folks touting the bamboo toothbrush as a way to reduce the use of plastic?
So, which toothbrush is a better choice for the planet and which is a better choice for your teeth?
First, let us answer the question: “What Is a Bamboo Toothbrush?”
Bamboo toothbrushes are similar to the typical plastic toothbrushes one would find at the store. They have a handle to hold onto and bristles to remove plaque and left over food particles from your teeth. The difference between bamboo toothbrushes and plastic toothbrushes is the material used to make the handle.
History Repeats Itself- What is Old is New Again!
Bamboo toothbrushes are one of the oldest types of toothbrushes. The earliest bristle toothbrushes were invented in China in the 15th century and featured boar hair bristles and bamboo handles.
Today, bamboo toothbrushes may have bristles made from either boar hair or nylon.
Although bamboo toothbrushes may seem like a new, eco-friendly item, but are they?
Bamboo grows quickly and when used as a material for a toothbrush handle, bamboo does have a smaller ecological impact compared to plastic because bamboo is biodegradable. For example, if you first remove the nylon bristles, one can compost the handles of bamboo toothbrushes. However, if bamboo toothbrushes end up in the trash, they aren’t significantly more environmentally friendly than their plastic counterparts.
What about the Bristles?
For a fully biodegradable toothbrush, the bristles cannot be made nylon. How about boar hair? Boar hair bristles tend to be rougher than nylon ones, and hard bristles can cause wear on your enamel and contribute to gum recession.
Any Special Instructions for Using and Caring for a Bamboo Toothbrush?
One can use a toothbrush with a bamboo handle the same way one would use a plastic toothbrush. And so, one should keep the same considerations and pay close attention to the size of the head that fits comfortably in one’s mouth, the shape of the handle that is easy to hold and bristles that are soft.
The American Dental Association recommends getting a new toothbrush every three to four months, or once the bristles are frayed or damaged. Replacing your old toothbrush for a new one will help keep your teeth as clean as possible.
If you have questions about switching to a bamboo toothbrush, talk to your dentist. They can help you choose the toothbrush that’s best for you and make other recommendations that promote Happy Healthy Teeth.
-Dr. Jon and Team Happy Healthy Teeth