Eco Friendly Toothbrushes: 7 Options to Choose From


You don’t need plastic handles and bristles to keep your teeth clean.

Try eco friendly toothbrushes instead.

Why use eco friendly toothbrushes

Toothbrushes today are all plastic – plastic handles, plastic bristles, and plastic packaging.

That’s a lot of plastic for something you will throw away in a few months.

You… and everyone else. Millions of toothbrushes end up in the landfill every year – to break down into microplastics.

The planet does not need more plastic, especially when there are eco friendly materials that can be used instead.

What to look for when buying eco friendly toothbrushes

#1 Handle material

The handles should be made from eco friendly, biodegradable and sustainable materials like wood.

#2 Bristle material

Bristles are a bit tricky. Plastic toothbrushes have bristles made of nylon, which is a type of plastic. It is difficult to find an eco friendly alternative so many eco friendly toothbrushes actually come with nylon.

So, these brushes are not 100% zero waste. But they sure are an improvement from the all-plastic everything.

There are a couple brushes that come with boar (animal) hair. While boar hair is a biodegradable material that could replace nylon, it is not exactly vegan.

#3 Packaging

Packaging is another important factor to look at. You don’t want that hard plastic packaging.

Recyclable and biodegradable paper products are more environmentally friendly.

The best eco friendly toothbrush

Drumroll…

The best eco friendly toothbrushes are chewing sticks!

Chewing sticks have long been used to clean teeth. Archaeologists have found the sticks in Babylonian sites, Egyptian tombs and in Indian and Chinese records.

Today, in many rural parts of the world, especially in Africa, the Middle East and India, licorice, miswak and neem chewing sticks are the main tools used for brushing teeth.

My parents have also grown up using chewing sticks (they called it ‘datun’ or ‘detwan’).

They used small branches from the neem tree, hibiscus plant, coconut spikelets and something called soapvine, which I have yet to find or identify.

Personally, I’ve used chewing sticks from the hibiscus plant… It’s pretty cool.

1. Hibiscus Chewing Stick

Since I have a hibiscus plant in my garden, I thought I’d share with you how it’s done.

Usually, you cut a small twig, remove the leaves, clip both ends and rinse the branch.

Strip one side of the twig to remove the outer ‘skin’ of the branch. This will reveal the fibers of the plant.

Chew these fibers until they separate and become like a brush.

Hibiscus chewing sticks: zero waste toothbrushes

Now, use this 100% biodegradable toothbrush to physically remove the plaque build up from your teeth.

Be sure to use a zero waste toothpaste too – for those extra environmental points. If you don’t have access to hibiscus plants, get this one from Amazon.

Or try licorice root chewing sticks on Amazon (these are great options if you’re just getting started).

2. Neem Chewing Stick

A 2014 Pakistani study found neem chewing sticks:

  • were equally effective when it comes to gingivitis status (when compared to a plastic toothbrush)
  • had better results to reduce plaque
  • caused lower cases of cavities

So… the plastic toothbrush is not superior in any way to the old school, biodegradable, all-natural chewing stick.

But, if you’re not ready to use a chewing stick as a biodegradable toothbrush, here are some eco friendly ones to try.

Eco Friendly Toothbrushes

3. Isshah Natural Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush

Isshah Natural Bamboo Charcoal zero waste Toothbrush

Pros

  • handle made with bamboo
  • packaging made with recycled, biodegradable craft paper
  • bristles are treated with charcoal
  • company promises their product is 95% plastic-free
  • bristles are BPA free

Cons

  • bristles made with nylon (5% plastic)
  • not 100% zero waste

What to do when you’re done

  • contact plastic recycling companies to determine if the nylon can be recycled
  • remove the bristles
  • repurpose or recycle the bristles if possible, otherwise discard
  • compost the bamboo handle

Get on Amazon: Isshah toothbrushes (get that charcoal brush effect!)

4. GoWoo Natural Bamboo Eco Friendly Toothbrushes

GoWoo Natural Bamboo eco friendly Toothbrushes

Pros

  • handle made with bamboo
  • packaging made with recyclable and biodegradable
  • comes in fun colors
  • bristles are not 100% plastic: they are made with 38% nylon and 62% castor oil, making them bio-based bristles

Cons

  • bristles still contain some nylon (plastic)
  • not 100% zero waste

What to do when you’re done

  • determine if bristles can be recycled
  • remove the bristles
  • repurpose or recycle or discard the bristles
  • compost the bamboo handle

Get on Amazon: GoWoo natural bamboo eco friendly toothbrushes (look at those fun colors!)

5. Terra Futura Bamboo Ergonomic Toothbrush

Terra Futura Bamboo Ergonomic Toothbrush

Pros

  • handle made with sustainable bamboo
  • packaging made with recycled, biodegradable paper
  • handle is ergonomically shaped
  • bristles are BPA free

Cons

  • bristles made with nylon
  • not 100% zero waste

What to do when you’re done

  • remove the bristles
  • repurpose or recycle or throw out bristles
  • repurpose or compost the handle

Get on Amazon: Terra Futura bamboo ergonomic toothbrush (try these colorful, fun shaped toothbrushes!)

6. Nuduko Kids Bamboo Toothbrush

Nuduko Kids Bamboo Toothbrush

Pros

  • toothbrushes are designed for kids
  • handle made with bamboo
  • packaging made with recycled, biodegradable paper

Cons

  • bristles made with nylon
  • not zero waste

What to do when you’re done

  • repurpose or recycle or throw out the bristles
  • reuse, repurpose or compost the bamboo handle

Get on Amazon: Nuduko kids bamboo toothbrush (they’re lovely for the kiddies)

7. Gaia Guy Bamboo and Boar Bristle Eco Friendly Toothbrush

Gaia Guy Bamboo and Boar Bristle eco friendly Toothbrush

Pros

  • handle made with bamboo
  • packaging is a recyclable and biodegradable paperboard tube (which can be easily repurposed)
  • bristles made with boar hair which is sanitized by boiling
  • bristles are softer than nylon
  • the bristles are secured with metal staple
  • bristles can be boiled to disinfect them (you should do this often)
  • 100% zero waste

Cons

  • bristles are harvested after boars are killed for meat.
  • toothbrush is not vegan
  • bristles take longer to dry and, if left wet for hours, can harbor bacteria
  • boar bristles tend to shed more than nylon bristles.

What to do when you’re done

  • the entire brush is compostable – the bamboo handle, boar hair, and metal staple will all breakdown.

Get on Amazon: Gaia Guy bamboo and boar bristle eco friendly toothbrush (these are 100% zero waste!)

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Eco Friendly Toothbrushes

Now, it’s your turn.

What do you use to brush your teeth?

Have you switched over to these eco friendly alternatives? I’ll love to hear from you.

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