Are Bamboo Toothbrushes More Environmentally Friendly?

Plastic plays a huge role in environmental concerns. Plastic does not easily break down and is often hard to recycle. The world produced a total of 368 million metric tons of the plastic in 2019, much of the plastic produced in the world ends up in landfill sites or in the ocean once it is disposed of.

As with all areas of our lives at present, practice of making more sustainable dental care choices is becoming increasingly popular. One item in particular seems to be leading the way and that is the bamboo toothbrush. In this article we will explore just how eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes really are and how your oral health could benefit from using them.


Bamboo Toothbrush

Perhaps unsurprisingly a bamboo toothbrush is a manual toothbrush much like the regular manual toothbrushes you can buy in any relevant shop. The biggest difference between bamboo toothbrush and most manual toothbrushes is that bamboo toothbrush handles are made from the natural and more sustainable bamboo plant instead of plastic.

Just like plastic toothbrushes: bamboo toothbrushes have long handles and bristles (usually made from nylon) that can be use with toothpaste to remove residual food and plaque from your teeth to keep them healthy.

you may wonder


Bamboo Toothbrush

Yes, if you are comparing manual bamboo toothbrushes to their plastic handled equivalents.
The main reasons why bamboo toothbrushes are more eco-friendly than plastic toothbrushes are:

  1. Bamboo toothbrush handles come from a natural, plant-based source that is renewable. So it can be replanted and regrown quite quickly every time some of it is used to make a toothbrush. Plastic on the other hand often requires mining the Earth in a much more carbon emissions heavy process which contributes to climate change and the resulting toothbrush is often not recyclable.
  2. As bamboo toothbrushes are largely plant-based, it means the bamboo used actively helps to remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere as it grows. This helps to reduce the carbon footprint of the toothbrush.
  3. As bamboo in its raw form is a natural, organic material (once the nylon bristles have been removed) bamboo toothbrushes can often be biodegradable. This means that bamboo toothbrushes can break down without leaving traces of themselves. Unlike plastic toothbrushes that can sit in landfill for hundreds of years or eventually break down into microplastics that marine life ends up eating- both of which are very harmful to the environment.

Bamboo toothbrushes use significantly less plastic than plastic toothbrushes which gives them a much smaller environmental footprint. Of course bamboo toothbrushes are not perfect; their bristles are often still made from nylon which is a form of plastic and if not recycled, composted or biodegraded correctly (always involving removing the bristles) even bamboo toothbrushes can end up taking up space in landfill sites.


Bamboo Toothbrush

Bamboo toothbrushes are not any better or worse for your teeth than plastic toothbrushes. Bamboo toothbrushes can do a great job of cleaning your teeth providing you follow the advice of your dentist in terms of:

  1. How many times a day you should brush your teeth.
  2. The technique you use to brush your teeth.
  3. How long you should brush your teeth for.

As with a plastic toothbrush, with an eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush, you should make sure that it is right for your mouthcare needs, namely the:

  • Handle shape of the bamboo toothbrush.
  • Size of the head of the bamboo toothbrush.
  • Head shape of the bamboo toothbrush.
  • Bristle firmness of the bamboo toothbrush.

Bamboo toothbrushes that can fit into the hard to reach parts of your mouth with soft (or soft enough bristles) to not cause wear on your enamel or gum erosion is key to having healthy teeth.

what makes for


What makes a great bamboo toothbrush will depend on many things such as how comfortable the handle is, the size and shape of the head and how soft the bristles are. At Waken we believe the best bamboo toothbrushes will have the following qualities:

  • Soft bristles: the Waken bamboo toothbrush has soft bristles to help protect your tooth enamel from being mechanically worn away.
  • Biodegradable: using bamboo in its raw form for toothbrush handles (so those that avoid using decorative paint for example) means they can be biodegradable.​ We recommend you check that your toothbrush is indeed biodegradable as a check for how eco-friendly it really is.
  • Vegan: often people are not aware but bamboo toothbrushes can be coated in beeswax to help make them smoother to the touch. This however means they are not suitable for many vegans. The Waken bamboo toothbrush provides a lovely smooth finish that does not use beeswax and is certified vegan by The Vegetarian Society. This means there are no animal products or by-products associated with the creation of Waken bamboo toothbrushes.  
  • Recyclable packaging: the packaging your toothbrush comes in can also contribute to the toothbrush's environmental impact. We suggest using toothbrushes that are packaged in 100% recyclable, FSC certified cardboard as it comes from sustainable and environmentally-friendly sources.
  • Beautifully designed: sustainable dental products don’t all have to look drab- you can do good and have your bathroom looking good too!

explore our

bamboo toothbrush range