Around 5 billion plastic toothbrushes are binned each year, with two-tone handles being almost impossible to recycle. Terracycle offers a free (sponsored) recycling box to send all plastic dental waste off to be made into other goods. For now, most eco toothbrushes have synthetic bristles to avoid harm to animals, so just remove them with pliers and bin, then compost or reuse the handle.
This bamboo toothbrush with bio bristles has a handle made from bamboo (industrial bamboo is not the same as fresh shoots eaten by pandas) and biodegrades after use. Sent in plastic-free packaging, the bristles are made from bio-based castor oil. With medium firmness in a pretty design. At end of life, you can snap off the brush head and send it back to them, and they pay to recycle the heads.
Never use toothpastes/mouthwash etc containing xylitol if you live with pets (this can be lethal if licked from around your mouth or a sink – there should be warnings on packaging). Also avoid essential oil products for pregnancy/nursing and affected medical conditions.
Dentists say most people use too much pressure to brush teeth, which is why bristles splay. They recommend 150g to 200g of pressure (press toothbrush on a set of scales, for an idea of correct pressure).
reusable stainless steel toothbrushes
These have handles made from stainless steel, which never to be replaced. You simply unscrew the base from the bamboo head handles and replace (a bit like a reusable razor). Barnaby’s Brushes (created by a former watersports instructor saddened by plastic waste) use surgical grade 316 stainless steel that is anti-bacterial and weighty in your hand.
Evermore toothbrushes have upright stands, so you don’t need a stand or tumbler, and the upcycled cork gasket locks the brush head in place – choose from three handle colours: rose gold, pearl silver or charcoal black). Then order refills.
bamboo toothbrushes for children
Wild & Stone bamboo toothbrushes feature different colours, so you don’t get mixed up. Also in children’s versions designed for smaller hands, sold in cardboard boxes with optional brush stands. Talk to your dentist about correct age for a child to start brushing.
zero waste electric toothbrushes
Bruit Sonicare Bamboo Electric Toothbrush includes 3 bamboo toothbrush heads, a charging base and USB charger for 1 month battery life, if used daily. There’s a 2-minute timer and 5 clean settings (clean, white, polish, gum care and sensitive) and it carries a 1-year warranty. The brush uses sonic wave technology to remove the most stubborn plaque.
Suri is a quality sustainable electric toothbrush. The durable aluminium body (in four colours) can be taken apart and repaired and the brush is powerful and quiet and designed for dentist-approved optimal interdental cleaning, with a 100-day money-back guarantee. After 3 months just pop the heads in a plain envelope, send back freepost and order new ones.