A toothbrush is something we all use every day. From the time we get our first teeth at a few months old each of us owns a toothbrush. And yet toothbrushes aren’t designed to last a lifetime or even a few years.
Looking after your bamboo toothbrush
If you want something to last long, you should look after them with proper care. The same thing applies to eco friendly wooden toothbrushes. With proper care and attention, they will last as long as any other plastic toothbrush. Since they are made from natural material, there are things that you need to do in order for them to last long. For instance, you need to make sure that the handle which is made from bamboo is dry before storing it in your toothbrush holder otherwise it will become moldy.
How often should you replace your bamboo toothbrush?
Dental professionals tend to suggest you replace your toothbrush every 2-4 months, or whenever the bristles start to show signs of wear, as this means they are less effective at cleaning your teeth.
Children’s toothbrushes often wear more quickly than adults partly because the bristles are softer and partly because they tend to brush more vigorously and even bite the bristles, meaning you may have to replace your child’s toothbrush more often than your own.
It is also suggested that you replace your toothbrush after illness as germs and bacteria can hide in the bristles leading to reinfection.
Do bamboo toothbrushes last as long?
The good news is that so long as you look after them there’s no reason you should have to replace a bamboo toothbrush any quicker than a plastic one.
Most bamboo toothbrushes still use nylon in the bristles, and as it’s the bristles you are looking at when deciding if it’s time to replace your toothbrush this makes them essentially the same as any other brush.
Some manufacturers have made entirely petroleum-free bristles which are designed to perform just as well and last just as long as nylon. As with any toothbrush it depends on your brushing style as much as anything else so the best advice is to see how you go and replace when the bristles become frayed.
Looking after your toothbrush
Just like any other toothbrush you should thoroughly rinse it after use to get rid of any bits of food and wash away bacteria. Then your toothbrush should be stored upright and allowed to air dry.
Keeping a bamboo toothbrush dry is even more important so drying the handle with a towel after use is a good habit to get into. And we don’t recommend you keep it in a glass as if the bottom of the handle stays wet, unlike plastic it can become mouldy in time.
Bamboo is naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial which is a great feature for a toothbrush to have. And if you are worried about bacteria due to a recent illness you can sterilise your toothbrush in boiling water for a few minutes to be sure it’s not harbouring any nasty germs.
How long do they last after you’ve finished with them?
Perhaps the more pertinent and important question is how long will your toothbrush stick around after the three months you use it to brush your teeth. And this is where you’ll see the real difference between plastic and bamboo.
Plastic brushes are generally made from plastics that are almost impossible to recycle so the sad fact is they will end up in landfill where they’ll sit for 100’s if not 1000’s of years. If every person uses 4 brushes a year and lives for 80 years that’s 320 toothbrushes per person just sitting there.
Bamboo, on the other hand, is completely biodegradable and compostable in a short period of time. If you put the handle in your home compost it will break down in 4-6 months, in commercial compost that reduces to a few weeks. And even if you just bury it in the garden it will still be completely gone in 5-10 years.
Find out more about how to recycle your bamboo toothbrush here.