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Bamboo Toothbrushes
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Larissa
1
January 9, 2012 - 1:40 pm

I recently read your plastic free dental hygiene post and would like to recommend environmental toothbrushes. They are made from bamboo, a natural cellulose fibre, they are biodegradable, environmentally sustainable, and do not pollute the environment.  Bamboo has a high growth rate which means that deforestation is not necessary either. Their packaging is also bio-degradable.

If you can please could you update your post on dental hygiene as all the available options still have a lot of plastic in them.

For $3 a toothbrush (Australian Orders) or $4 for international I think they are definitely worth it. They last for as long as you need and can be chucked in your garden or compost when you are done as they are 100% compostable.

http://environmentaltoothbrush.com.au/

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Beth Terry
397 Posts
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2
January 9, 2012 - 7:01 pm

Hi Larissa. I actually did post about this toothbrush in a later post: /2011/05/eco-friendly-toothbrush-review-and-giveaway/ I guess I need to update that earlier post.

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kanishka
3
January 10, 2012 - 2:01 pm

to add on to your post. the pieces missing in the perfect toothbrush:

 

-made in north america with materials from north america (each region should use materials that it can attain locally). maybe can bamboo grow in central or north america?

-non plastic, non animal product bristles. have no idea what you could use? reinforced form of cotton maybe?

-a worker coop making the brushes. or at least a company that had full time employees with benefits in canada, usa

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julsie
4
January 11, 2012 - 2:13 pm

Seems like bamboo bristles could be done. They make so many other things out of bamboo!

There are varieties of bamboo that grow so well in north america, they're considered invasive.  I don't know if one variety is just as good as another when it comes down to harvesting/using them.

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Beth Terry
397 Posts
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5
January 11, 2012 - 2:28 pm

There is a toothbrush sold in Europe with bristles from a polymer made from bamboo. I plan to investigate. http://pinterest.com/pin/17500…..489555546/

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MTNgirl
6
January 11, 2012 - 9:12 pm

After many months debating the options, I ended up purchasing the Environmental Toothbrush from Australia.  I live in a small city in Montana, the Preserve Toothbrush is not available here.  We do have the radius, but WITHOUT the replaceable heads.  I thought okay, so that leaves me with ordering.  I prefer to reduce toxins when at all possible and if I am ordering, what ever I order will come from overseas anyway, so go ahead and send for the bamboo toothbrushes. 

 

We got them and we love them.  We don't have a garden as we are temporarily living in an apartment, but plan to use the toothbrushes for label rows in the garden when they have exhausted our mouth usefulness.

 

My husband went to the dentist today.  When they dentist finished, he asked “what are you doing differently, your teeth and gums look really good.  Better than I have ever seen!”  My husband said my wife sent for some “wooden” (he didn't know any different) from Australia!  Then he went on to decline the free plastic toothbrush and floss in the little plastic bag!  I am so proud!

 

And I would like to report, initially the brushes are a bit stiff, but they soften up nicely. 

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kanishka
7
January 12, 2012 - 7:43 pm

Beth Terry said:

There is a toothbrush sold in Europe with bristles from a polymer made from bamboo. I plan to investigate. http://pinterest.com/pin/17500…..489555546/

i can't tell, but seems to be the producing company, plus cuter photo:

http://www.loveko.se/ekotandbo…..anguage=en

 

here is the little information loveko provided me on the biopolymer when i emailed them: 

 
“The adult brush is made from heatened/ Charocal bambo cellulosa

also called bio polymer, its not always polymer stands for plastic,

its also stand for corn, rice and very small part of cellulosa thats build up.

Byt nylon for children is of course of nylon, but this is biogradable to.”
 
now, we just have to convince a commune somewhere in vermont to grow bamboo and make these (:

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vanrey
8
January 16, 2012 - 12:49 am

I have seen many of these type of dark bamboo toothbrushes, online through a wholesale distributor. Most of them are made in China, and possibly these companies in Europe that distribute them are just having them branded with their company name on them, which many companies do.

So, the bruses go from China to Europe, then here to the U.S. if we order them….ugh, so much mileage for a little toothbrush, no?

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vanrey
9
January 16, 2012 - 12:50 am
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Adam
10
December 6, 2013 - 3:00 pm

I’ve been using these: https://smilesquared.com/

 

For every purchase, they donate one to a child in need somewhere.

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Kenji
11
November 12, 2014 - 5:28 pm

Hi everybody – I’ve been using Brush with Bamboo, but my dental hygienist just told me she recommends against wooden and bamboo toothbrushes because they harbor bacteria.  She wants me to use an electric (plastic) brush, or at least a plastic hand brush.  Have any of you had this conversation with your dental hygienist, or are any of you knowledgeable in that field?  I’d hate to add that plastic back into my life, but I also want to keep good dental hygiene.  Help?

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Beth Terry
397 Posts
(Offline)
12
November 28, 2014 - 9:55 am

Hi. I’ve never heard that, and I’m wondering if the hygienist is basing her statement on actual data or if it’s just a feeling she has. A lot of people assume plastic cutting board are more hygienic than wooden ones, but in an actual study, the opposite was found. Wood seems to have antimicrobial properties. If she can show you a peer-reviewed study showing that wood or bamboo toothbrushes are less hygienic, I’d like to see it.

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JayWithoutPlastic
13
November 29, 2014 - 8:43 am

Hi All, I’ve never heard of that either. I would think that if the wood and bristles never ever dry out completely, then there is a chance for bacteria to develop over time. But I think that as long as the brush is rinsed well after brushing and dries out completely between brushes then bacteria is a complete non-issue (especially, as Beth mentions, given the anti-bacterial properties of wood, which are widely recognized). It almost sounds like the argument offered (often by plastic industry-related think tank lobby groups) against using cotton reusable bags because they harbour bacteria – well, of course they will if you don’t wash them once in a while.

We’ve been using the brushes we sell (German-made from beechwood and pig bristles) for years now and have never had any issues with bacteria developing. Beth included them in her review she noted above: /2011/05/eco-friendly-toothbrush-review-and-giveaway/

One little update to the review, these brushes are actually available in the U.S. now. My apologies if this comes across as promotional. I don’t mean it to be, but just wanted to correct the current inaccuracy in the review.

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Mezzie
14
November 29, 2014 - 8:52 am

After a dental nightmare several years go, my dentist convinced me I had to have a Sonicare. I could almost excuse the plastic for the heads if it weren’t for the gratuitous plastic packaging it comes in. At least the plastic head serves some purpose. 

I always bought the biggest packs of replacements, but I think after my current stash is out, I’ll switch to bamboo for sixth months and see what my dentist says. 

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Kenji
15
November 30, 2014 - 1:45 pm

Thanks for the replies, everybody.  I’ll ask the hygienist next time I’m in there if she knows of any studies on this.

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Ro from Brush with B
16
December 1, 2014 - 1:13 pm

Hi Kenji –

This is Ro, co-owner at Brush with Bamboo. In regards to whether bamboo/wood accumulates bacteria, I would point to the same studies Beth mentioned, where plastic cutting boards were found to have more bacteria than wooden ones. Additionally, plastic is a known “bioaccumulator” – meaning it attracts and harbors bacteria. This is why marine scientists note that plastic nurdles found in the ocean harbor increasing amounts of toxins over time. Many people tend to think of plastic as netural, sterile, and clean – but this is totally not the case.

As long as you keep your bamboo/wooden toothbrush dry (towel it off after using) there should be no issue at all. If you’re very concerned, perhaps leave the brush out in sunlight for a brief time so that it gets totally dried out. 

If you’re still not convinced, perhaps just switch back to the plastic toothbrush if that’s what makes you most comfortable. Other alternatives also include neem/miswak sticks if you’re keen on going plastic-free. Currently, there is no fully plant-based alternative to pig hair bristles for toothbrushes. 

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Kenji
17
March 11, 2015 - 7:06 pm

Hi Ro, thanks for the reply, and sorry I didn’t see it until now.  I ordered a whole bunch of brushes from you guys, so I’ll be using them for some time.  :-)

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Dylan
18
December 19, 2015 - 5:21 pm

I don’t understand the necessity of using animal hair bristles on brushes, whether toothbrushes, brooms, scouring brushes, hairbrushes, whatever. Using animal products and eating animals seem to go against the overarching message of this kind of website, namely that we’re all here to cut down on pollution, greenhouse gases, and resource (over)use. I appreciate the website owner mentioning that pig bristles are not vegan.  Making attempts to be cruelty-free towards the environment should include cruelty-free behaviors and habits towards animals. 

Becoming a vegan is one of the single largest contributions a person can make to arresting climate change.  Animal parts and hair are generally used after the animal is slaughtered for food.  It’s not cruelty-free to use animal body parts even if you don’t eat animals. Even if the animal is killed only for its skin or body parts, it still endures the horrors of factory farming.  

I would  like to see a stainless steel or wood or some other non- or less-plastic electric toothbrush system. I’m a dedicated electric toothbrush user but I’m willing to buy a wooden/nylon bristle brush for traveling, just  not for daily use and certainly not one with animal bristles. 

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Court
19
March 28, 2016 - 11:08 am

Late reply, but there is a silicone electric toothbrush. Not the best, but I know some people here use silicone feminine products. It’s called the Forreo Issa. (They also have a silicone version of a “clairsonic” type face brush). I personally don’t think I’ll get one as it’s expensive, 199$. It supposedly has a 10-year warranty and replacement brush heads aren’t bad, only 25$. I like that the company is cruelty free.

Logical Harmony has a review on it.

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