The 6 Best Eco-Friendly Toothbrushes of 2022

Our top choice for reducing your plastic footprint is the bamboo Humble Brush.

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Bamboo toothbrushes

Courtesy of Getty

Preserving your pearly whites needn’t come at a tremendous environmental cost, even though statistics are damning for the humble toothbrush. To keep our teeth in good biting order, it’s said we use a whopping 300 toothbrushes in our lifetime. A billion toothbrushes were discarded in the US in 2019, a majority of them plastic.

However, the good news is that there are several alternatives to the single-use plastic. Great natural options to synthetic toothbrushes are made from plant-based materials such as bamboo, beech wood, or cornstarch, all which are compostable. What’s tricky is to decide which bristle is the best for you, whether it is made from nylon, plant-based castor beans, or even boar bristles, if you have the gumption for it.

So, wait no longer and kiss disposable plastics for brushing goodbye. Ahead, our selection of the best eco-friendly toothbrushes.

Bamboo is a versatile grass that has found its way into our oral hygiene routine, and bamboo toothbrushes have emerged as one of the most popular sustainable alternatives to plastic counterparts. Swedish brand The Humble Co., founded by dentist Noel Abdayem has designed a simple and effective toothbrush, developed by consulting dental professionals.

The toothbrush is certified vegan and has not been tested on animals. Its Scandinavian simplicity has proven popular, with over 35 million toothbrushes sold globally. The handle can be composted in your backyard compost bin or a commercial composter. Remove the BPA-free nylon bristles (Bisphenol A is a chemical with possible health side effects) and recycle them at your local facility. You can also buy a fabulous bamboo case to store your toothbrush in.

Price at time of publish: $9

Best Budget: Isshah Charcoal Bamboo Toothbrush

Eco-Friendly Isshah Toothbrushes

These individually numbered toothbrushes and a price that's easy on your pocket, the Isshah pack of four toothbrushes is an affordable option, especially for families. The bamboo handle has been polished, smoothening down any roughness or loose splinters you might feel in your mouth. It has been processed to prevent mildew which sneaks up on damp bamboo toothbrushes.

The soft bristles work your gums gently and clean your teeth efficiently. They're made with charcoal-infused nylon, although it's worth noting that some of the claims about the benefits of charcoal for oral health aren't backed by rigorous research. However, it’s great value for money if you want a gentle toothbrush.

Price at time of publish: $13

Best for Kids: Brush with Bamboo Kids Bamboo Toothbrush

Brush With Bamboo Kids Toothbrush

Courtesy of Amazon

Perfectly sized and perfectly safe for little mouths (and even adults with small mouths) are Brush with Bamboo’s child-sized plant-based toothbrush. The highlight of the toothbrush are the German-made biobased bristles from castor bean oil. The bristles are certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as 100% biobased, which in layperson’s terms means they contain only natural and renewable components.

The bristles don’t fall out easily, which is a concern when it comes to kids’ toothbrushes. What’s more, the bioplastic wrapper can be industrially composted and cardboard box packaging can be recycled, so you can keep your children’s teeth squeaky clean while staying green.

Price at time of publish: $20

Best for Travel: Bite Bamboo Toothbrush

Bite Bamboo Toothbrush

Courtesy of Bite

We love the bamboo brush by Bite. This 100% plant-based toothbrush keeps your conscience clear when you brush your teeth. The handle is made from Moso bamboo, also known as tortoise-shell bamboo, which produces some of the densest fibers (and isn’t eaten by Pandas, in case if you were wondering). The bristles are also made from the castor bean plant, which are gentle on your teeth and gums.

What’s more, you can detach the head and slide the two halves into your travel pouch, making the toothbrush easily portable while you’re on the go. Swap the old head for a new one when the bristles get worn out. You can compost the toothbrush and the bristles at home in your home compost bin, though they say it will take some time. Bite suggests you add the aluminum crimps to curbside recycling.

Price at time of publish: $12

Best Bamboo Alternative: Georganics Beechwood Toothbrush

Georganics Beechwood Toothbrush

Courtesy of Georganics

If you’re looking for an alternative to bamboo, then the German-made Georganics beechwood vegan toothbrush is for you. It is made from beechwood sourced from responsibly managed forests, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The bristles are made from BPA-free nylon, and are available in soft, medium, and firm sizes. It comes with an easily snappable head. A kid's size toothbrush is also available.

You can compost the handle at home, and if you’re based in the UK, then the company offers a Zero to Landfill scheme. Just send the snapped-off toothbrush head to the company. They have partnered with recycling company TerraCycle to recycle it for you.

Price at time of publish: $5

Brush and Give Back: Preserve Toothbrush

Preserve Toothbrush

Courtesy of Preserve

Though it doesn’t have plant origins, Preserve’s recycled toothbrush ticks the right boxes. It is made 100% from recycled yogurt cups and is free from nasties such as BPA and phthalates (chemicals added to products to make them flexible, soft and pliant but have possible health side effects). Ergonomically designed by dental professionals, the toothbrush has the right curves and three-tiered bristles that can reach awkward nooks and crannies in your mouth that are hard to floss. These brushes are available in a bunch of fun colors.

However, the ultra-soft, soft and medium bristles are made from virgin nylon. Preserve is Certified B Corp, which means the company works to balances its purpose and profit.

What stands out is their mail-in recycling program. For every six toothbrushes you ship back to them (they recommend you pack them and send them in a plastic ‘bottleship’), you get a $6 coupon you can use on their online store.

Price at time of publish: $26

Final Verdict

Switching to an eco-friendly toothbrush reduces plastic pollution while being good for your health. Our top recommendation is the Humble Brush, a simple and effective best-selling bamboo toothbrush. For kids, we recommend Brush with Bamboo’s toothbrush which has bristles made from castor bean oil.

Good to Know When Shopping for Eco-Friendly Toothbrushes

Before you plunge into the world of alternative toothbrushes, there are a few things worth noting. For some, it can take time getting used to a rustic, wood-style toothbrush that has bristles which seem to shed faster than as compared to its smoother plastic counterpart.

There are some handy tips to make an easy switch. To prevent mold from forming, dry your toothbrush completely between uses. Experts suggest replacing your toothbrush every two or three months, and most conventional plastic toothbrushes can't be recycled (although you can get a little extra life from them by using them as cleaning tools). You can compost the handles of plant-based toothbrushes, and sometimes even the bristles.

Why Trust Treehugger?

To make this list, we researched the market and selected brushes that have reputable certifications, made by ethical companies, and come in minimal or recyclable packaging.

Author Neeti Mehra is a luxury-industry veteran who’s also committed to sustainable, slow, and mindful living.

View Article Sources
  1. Borunda, Alejandra. “How your toothbrush became a part of the plastic crisis.National Geographic.