Why I Switched To A Bamboo Toothbrush… And You Should, Too
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So, I recently switched to a bamboo toothbrush for my oral hygiene routine and am convinced that everyone needs to do the same. Opting for a green alternative like bamboo rather than your normal toothbrush is not only easier on your wallet, but can massively reduce your plastic consumption and carbon footprint. And it’s so easy, too.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve made conscious strides to live a more minimalist and, subsequently, sustainable lifestyle and go green where I can. I used to religiously carry plastic water bottles everywhere I go. Now, I can’t leave my apartment without my reusable bottle. My stainless steel straws are pretty much a staple in my handbag or backpack and follow me during my travels. I also got rid of my car and rely on walking or carpooling these days. It’s taken several baby steps, but the progress is definitely there.
I was a frequent traveler before the COVID-19 outbreak and accustomed to having to pack and unpack clothes and travel essentials 1-3 times per month. The constant making sure I packed the charger for my electric toothbrush everywhere I went, worrying about plugging it into international ports, and the fact that it took up major space in my toiletries bag were minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of things.
I was using energy to power a freakin’ toothbrush, not to mention the pricy replaceable, and very plastic, heads. There has to be a better way. And as a first-generation Nigerian American whose parents’ and descendants’ dental hygiene consisted of using chewing sticks, I really should have known better. This was another part of my daily routine that needed to go green. Considering I now know how simple the alternative was and how easy it was to switch, I’m baffled that it took me so long.
Why You Should Switch To A Bamboo Toothbrush
You might be wondering what a bamboo toothbrush is and what it looks like exactly. Bamboo toothbrushes are plastic-free alternatives to traditional toothbrushes and aren’t too far off from their plastic counterpart. Their handles are made of all-natural bamboo and are completely recyclable.
The brustles on a bamboo toothbrush vary, depending on dental needs or simply personal preferences. Mine has charcoal-lined BPA-free nylon bristles (recyclable) that are supposed to bind plaque and other bacteria as well as whiten the teeth. They’re a bit on the softer side considering other options like bamboo bristles and boar hair, but it gets the job done for me.
The number one reason to switch to a bamboo toothbrush is to reduce plastic consumption. People are always stunned when I bring up the fact that every single toothbrush they’ve ever used still exists and is sitting in a landfill somewhere. 1 billion toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States, which amounts to 50 million pounds of waste annually. It takes plastic hundreds of years to breakdown, so it sits in landfills.
I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that cost factored into my decision as well. My electric toothbrush itself was about $60 with three replacement heads costing at least $20. Not to mention that I had to charge my electric toothbrush at least once a week. Eek. A pack of bamboo toothbrushes costs anywhere from $7 to $15 depending on the brand and quality, and because many of them are packs of four, it’s a once-per-year investment.
Advantages of Switching to a Bamboo Toothbrush
The biggest advantage of switching to a bamboo toothbrush is that it reduces your plastic use immediately. Bamboo is biodegradable and can easily be disposed of. Depending on the type of bamboo toothbrush you have, the bristles may or may not be recyclable. My nylon bristles are super tiny and will have to go in the trash rather than recycling. Even so, the waste is equally super tiny compared to throwing away plastic and electric toothbrushes. As for the handle, you can break it down to pieces and compost it in your yard. It’ll be gone within six months.
Did you know that bamboo is a natural antimicrobial? It’s kind of like why some cutting boards are often made of bamboo. They naturally keep surfaces clean. So, you don’t have to worry about your brush getting nasty or full of organisms. As long as you keep it dry.
Bamboo is a natural plant that’s fully biodegradable. The hands-down coolest thing about bamboo, however, is that it’s one of the fastest-growing plants in the world with certain species able to grow up to four feet per DAY, and that’s without any kind of fertilizer or special soil. This makes it an extremely sustainable and renewable resource.
Traveling with my electric toothbrush and its charger cable was becoming an absolute pain in the butt. And don’t get me started on how many times I forgot my charger altogether and was stuck with a dead toothbrush. First world problems, amirite? Packing a bamboo toothbrush is literally as simple as tossing it in my toiletry bag or backpack and carrying on with my travel plans.
As someone who’s very much into the less-is-more aesthetic, the bamboo toothbrush absolutely fits my vibe. Bamboo toothbrushes look super minimal and are design-friendly as they pretty much go with everything.
So, I initially outlined this article a few months ago and had “the bamboo rubbing against my mouth feels weird”, and that was very true at the time. It just didn’t feel slippery and smooth compared to my former plastic heads.
Funnily enough, I don’t even notice or feel it now. I had an “oh yeah, it was weird!” kinda moment when I thought about it but I can gladly say it’s just like using another toothbrush now. I actually prefer my “boo brush” and think it cleans better than my old toothbrushes. Or maybe I’m more enthusiastic about brushing now that I’m helping the planet.
All this to say, I’m five months in and no disadvantages to report. Zero-waste brushing is very much here to stay for me. As long as you keep in mind that the feel of the bamboo will take some very minor getting used to, you’re good to go.
Where To Buy A Bamboo Toothbrush
EcoRoots is becoming one of my favorite zero-waste lifestyle brands. I recently bought a safety razor from them (which I’ll be reviewing soon). I love that they’re a women-focused small business and all of their packaging is recyclable or compostable. So, I was pleased to learn they sell bamboo toothbrushes as well. Their bristles are soft, BPA-free, and non-toxic, making it a great option for newbies. As an affiliate, I do earn a commission for any purchases you make on the store, but I think you’ll be pleased as I am with the quality of their eco-friendly alternatives.
So, ready to give bamboo toothbrushes a try? Be sure to leave comments below on how the toothbrush works out for you and subscribe to my newsletter for more lifestyle tips and updates!
Don’t forget to check out my article, 9 Simple Ways To Kickstart A More Sustainable Lifestyle This Year, for more ways to go green!
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