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5 Eco-Friendly Bamboo Toothbrushes for Adults and Kids

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Eco-Friendly Bamboo Toothbrushes for Adults and Kids
Victoria Bee Photography / Moment / Getty Images

An easy way to make your daily routine more sustainable is to use a bamboo toothbrush rather than one made from plastic. Because bamboo toothbrushes are made from a natural material, they can be composted at the end of their lifespan.

In this article, we'll explain why it's worth making the switch from plastic to bamboo, answer a few questions you may have about bamboo toothbrushes, and recommend some of the best products on the market for both adults and children.

Our Picks for Best Bamboo Toothbrushes

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Why Switch to a Bamboo Toothbrush?

The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. That means people in the U.S. alone would use over a billion toothbrushes per year, most of which are made from plastic.

According to Library of Congress records, nylon bristles were invented in 1938 as part of the consumer-driven plastic boom that occurred in the early decades of the 20th century. Since then, the production, use, and disposal of toothbrushes with plastic-molded handles and nylon bristles have steadily increased.

Although there are plenty of ways to reuse your sanitized toothbrush after it's no longer effective for cleaning your mouth, most end up in the trash sooner or later. And from there, many end up in our oceans and waterways.

Just a couple of years ago, an estimated 373,000 toothbrushes were picked off the coasts of the remote Cocos archipelago (which is home to only about 600 people). And those were just within the top four inches of sand.

If you adhere to the ADA's recommended schedule, you'll go through about 300 toothbrushes in your lifetime. But there are ways to avoid contributing to this waste stream, such as switching to a bamboo toothbrush. They're made from natural materials, so they can be tossed in your compost bin after you're done using them.

Our Top Picks for Bamboo Toothbrushes

Based on our market research and firsthand use, these are the five best bamboo toothbrushes available on Amazon:

Best Overall: Brush with Bamboo Toothbrush with Plant-Based Bristles

Brush with Bamboo Toothbrush with Plant-Based Bristles

brushwithbamboo.com

Brush with Bamboo's bamboo toothbrushes come in a pack of four, which should last you about a year according to the ADA's recommendations for replacing your brush. Although many bamboo toothbrushes are made from a wooden handle and nylon bristles, Brush with Bamboo's products have bristles made from 100% plant-based castor bean oil.

While this makes them the most sustainable toothbrushes on our list, the bristles aren't certified for home composting, so they should still be removed with pliers before tossing your bamboo handle in a personal compost bin (though, if you drop your food scraps and other compostable materials at a municipal facility, they'll break down just fine).

Customer rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 1,000 Amazon reviews

Why buy: USDA Certified Biobased bristles; Compostable packaging; Green America® certified business; Plastic Pollution Coalition member

Best Dentist-Designed: The Humble Co. Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrush

The Humble Co. Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrush

thehumble.co

You can feel good about the effectiveness of The Humble Co.'s Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrush, as it was designed by dentists in Sweden. You can also feel good that, for every toothbrush sold, The Humble Co. donates an oral care product to a child in need.

These bamboo toothbrushes come in a pack of five and are made with BPA-free nylon bristles, which means they're not 100% biodegradable — the bristles will need to be removed before composting the handle. The nylon bristles can, however, be placed in a larger plastic bottle or container and tossed in your curbside recycling bin. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified packaging that the brushes come in can also be composted.

Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 600 Amazon reviews

Why Buy: BPA-free bristles; Dentist-designed; Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified packaging; Buy-one-give-one social responsibility business model; Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certified business

Best Charcoal Toothbrush: Isshah Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrushes

Isshah Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrushes

isshah.com

Looking for a toothbrush that can help you get a naturally brighter smile? Check out Isshah's bamboo charcoal toothbrush, which comes in a pack of four and is packaged in 100% recycled craft paper.

These toothbrushes have nylon bristles treated with activated charcoal, which studies have shown may remove surface stains from your teeth, remove oral bacteria, and remove more plaque than standard nylon bristles. However, some dentists recommend avoiding charcoal, as it can be especially abrasive.

Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 9,500 Amazon reviews

Why Buy: BPA-free bristles; Charcoal-treated for natural whitening; Well-reviewed; 100% recycled, biodegradable packaging

Best for Kids: Darlyng & Co. Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrush

Darlyng & Co. Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrush

darlyngandco.com

Your little brushers will love the colorful bristles of Darlyng & Co.'s bamboo toothbrushes. Each brush is made with a bamboo handle and BPA-free nylon bristles that are soft enough to be gentle on kids' gums yet still provide a thorough clean. As with all nylon bristles, they will need to be removed before composting the toothbrush handle.

Darlyng & Co. was founded by Carl and Tara Darnley, parents who started their business after inventing a teething mit for their two-month-old whose baby teeth came in early. Today, the company offers a variety of child-focused products, from sippy cups to shampoo to nightlights.

Customer Rating: 5 out of 5 stars with less than 10 Amazon reviews

Why Buy: BPA-free bristles; Black-owned business; Plastic-free packaging; Smaller size for child use

Best for Travel: SmartLifEco Bamboo Toothbrushes, Toothbrush Holder & Travel Case

SmartLifEco Bamboo Toothbrushes, Toothbrush Holder & Travel Case

smarterlifeco.com

The SmartLifEco bamboo toothbrush set comes with four toothbrushes as well as a bamboo travel case and a holder that you can keep on your bathroom counter, which means you can say goodbye to that less-than-stellar communal toothbrush cup. The travel case and everyday holder have drainage holes that allow moisture to escape, keeping your toothbrush mold and bacteria-free.

While the toothbrush handle is made from bamboo, the bristles are BPA-free nylon, so they'll need to be removed before composting the handle. The bristles are, however, treated with charcoal for natural whitening, which is a nice feature.

Customer Rating: 5 out of 5 stars with less than 10 Amazon reviews

Why Buy: BPA-free bristles; Charcoal-treated for natural whitening; Comes with travel case and countertop holder

FAQ: Bamboo Toothbrushes

How long do bamboo toothbrushes last?

The ADA recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, or when the bristles have frayed. Bamboo toothbrushes easily last this long.

Are bamboo toothbrushes hygienic?

Yes, bamboo toothbrushes are completely hygienic. However, you'll want to make sure they dry properly and not stored in a damp place. (We will note that some "eco-friendly" toothbrushes use animal hair for bristles. While this is a truly natural option, the hair can harbor bacteria that makes it unhygienic.)

Do dentists recommend bamboo toothbrushes?

As long as your bamboo toothbrush has soft bristles, it's ADA-compliant, which means it's got the seal of approval from dentists in the U.S. Both plant-based castor bean oil bristles and nylon bristles fit this description.

Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.

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