Brushing the teeth properly and regularly is among the best ways to keep the teeth and gums healthy. Before modern toothbrushes were invented, chewing on a twig passed as dental hygiene. Today, there are dozens of different toothbrushes available in the market. Some are even battery-powered, while others are made of different materials. While there are different options for toothbrushes out there, there is one type that is advertised to not only help keep your teeth and gums healthy but also helps in saving the environment.
At the present time, bamboo toothbrushes are popular among many people as an alternative to plastic toothbrushes. Different brands are offering bamboo toothbrushes as eco-friendly, biodegradable, and anti-bacterial alternatives to the usual toothbrushes that we use. But the question is, what do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of using a bamboo toothbrush for our oral health? If you have the same question in mind, we are here to help you. In this post, we are giving you the pros and cons of using bamboo toothbrushes.
What is a Bamboo Toothbrush?
A bamboo toothbrush is similar to a regular toothbrush that is available in stores. They also feature a handle and bristles that help in removing food bits and plaque from your teeth. But the difference is that bamboo toothbrushes are made using eco-friendly materials, unlike regular toothbrushes that are produced using plastic.
While bamboo toothbrushes seem new to a lot of people, they have actually been around for a while or even centuries. They are toothbrushes that are made out of an all-natural, biodegradable material known as bamboo. The bristles are commonly made out of nylon or nylon-4. 
Before, bamboo toothbrushes were hard to find in stores. But since there is a huge demand for them, more and more stores have begun to offer them. Today, they can be bought in major retailers, natural food stores, and online stores.
Types of Bamboo Toothbrushes
When it comes to bamboo toothbrushes, there are two types that you can choose from, which are those with nylon bristles and those that are charcoal infused. Read on to learn more about these types:
Nylon-Bristles Bamboo Toothbrush
A bamboo toothbrush with nylon bristles is the most common type, and it is less expensive than charcoal-infused bamboo toothbrushes. It is softer on the teeth and gums but is sturdy enough to remove stains from the teeth’ surface.
Charcoal-Infused Bamboo Toothbrush
This type features charcoal-infused bristles that are also made of nylon. The infused charcoal causes the bristles to feel stiffer during the first use. But with regular use, they will eventually become softer. One of the best things about charcoal-infused bamboo toothbrushes is that they attract bacteria and remove them from the mouth instead of just shifting the bacteria around. They are better for the teeth and may help keep them white.
Pros of Using a Bamboo Toothbrush
The use of a bamboo toothbrush comes with a lot of benefits. It is as effective as using a regular plastic toothbrush, and it is also helpful for the environment. Below, let us take a look at the pros of using a bamboo toothbrush:
An Eco-Friendly Alternative
There is a high chance of some plastic waste ending up in the ocean, which can endanger marine life, based on current trends.  Every time a used plastic toothbrush is tossed into the bin, there is a high possibility for it to be swallowed by a whale, an albatross, a penguin, or a sea lion. Therefore, using a bamboo toothbrush can be an eco-friendly alternative that you can consider for the sake of our planet. When you can no longer use a bamboo toothbrush, all you need to do is compost it, and its bamboo handle will naturally degrade. You also have the option to recycle or reuse the bamboo handle of the toothbrush.
Since bamboo is a plant, it can be cultivated over and over again without causing harm to the environment. The stems of a bamboo plant grow fast and do not need the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Therefore, we can conclude that bamboo toothbrushes are made using sustainable materials, unlike plastic toothbrushes that involve using harmful chemicals and processes when being produced.
Bamboo is a type of plant that grows naturally, making it safe to be used as a toothbrush material. The stems of the bamboo plant are cut and processed without using any toxic chemicals and additives. In fact, bamboo shoots are edible and used for food in some countries in Asia and Africa. The organic nature of the bamboo plant means that you may have to pay a dollar or so more than you would for a plastic toothbrush, but its overall benefit for you and the planet is worth it. 
Bamboo is naturally antimicrobial, which is also the reason cutting boards and other kitchen utensils are made out of bamboo and wood.  Unlike plastic, bamboo has properties that can kill the bacteria that penetrate its surface, providing long-lasting protection against harmful bacteria. This characteristic makes it great to be used as a toothbrush material.
Cons of Using Bamboo Toothbrushes
While bamboo toothbrushes have lots of benefits, there are also some drawbacks that you need to learn about before you go out and buy one. Below are some of the cons of using bamboo toothbrushes:
While it is true that the waste produced by bamboo toothbrushes is less than that of a generic plastic toothbrush, producing them still undergoes a long process. From harvesting to production, the manufacturing of bamboo toothbrushes needs manpower, water, energy, and other natural resources. Therefore, its sustainability is still quite questionable.
In addition to that, most bamboo is harvested in Asia. No matter what the different sustainability practices of the manufacturers are, the materials used still have to travel around the world, which increases their carbon footprint. As bamboo becomes increasingly more popular and profitable, there is an increasing concern that farmers will mow down other crops or natural forests and grow bamboo plants instead. 
Further Research is Needed
If you are thinking about switching to bamboo toothbrushes only for sustainability purposes, you need to make sure that you are buying from a reputable seller. There is a rise in greenwashing, and there are a lot of false advertisements from brands that are pretending to be eco-friendly just to make more sales. Therefore, if you are switching to a bamboo toothbrush, make sure to research the brand first to ensure that the company you are buying from is transparent about its sustainability practices and where its products come from.
Nylon Bristles are Not Biodegradable
Most bamboo toothbrushes available in the market today have nylon bristles, which are not biodegradable. Therefore, before disposing of the toothbrush, it is recommended to remove the nylon bristles first. There are manufacturers that claim that their bamboo toothbrush is made of 100% biodegradable materials, inferring that they utilize Nylon-4 bristles, which are reported to be biodegradable. However, most manufacturers still use non-biodegradable Nylon-6 bristles.
There have been some efforts to find more sustainable alternatives to nylon bristles, such as the use of boar’s hair bristles. Regrettably, while these are not made of plastic, they are not vegan, which is another concern if using vegan products is a big deal for you.
The price of one bamboo toothbrush can be a bit higher compared to a standard plastic toothbrush because plastic is cheaper to produce and distribute in large quantities. As the popularity of bamboo toothbrushes increases, the prices may stabilize, but until then, you can expect to spend a bit more on a bamboo toothbrush compared to a plastic toothbrush.
Compared to plastic, bamboo is a more porous material. This means that it can expand when it is wet. For instance, when you brush your teeth in the bathroom, the bamboo toothbrush may become wet unless additional care is taken to make sure that it is kept dry when not in use. You also need to make sure that you do not keep your bamboo toothbrush in water. It will naturally air-dry between uses, but leaving it on a wet sink or in the shower may cause the material to expand or warp due to excessive moisture levels.
As a consumer, it can be a big decision to choose a personal hygiene item like a toothbrush. While bamboo toothbrushes have come a long way in presenting an eco-friendlier way to brush our teeth, it is still not perfect, as it has a few drawbacks to consider. But if sustainability is your goal behind switching to a bamboo toothbrush, make sure that you look for a bamboo toothbrush from a company that is truly committed to sustainability. Overall, the main purpose of bamboo toothbrushes is to help save the environment. We hope this post helped you learn more about the pros and cons of using bamboo toothbrushes.
 Hancock Village Dental. (2018, July 12). Why you should look into bamboo toothbrushes. Hancock Village Dental. Retrieved March 8, 2023, from https://hancockvillagedental.com/look-bamboo-toothbrushes/
 Bamkiki. (2020, May 11). Australia’s biodegradable bamboo toothbrush – what are the benefits of using a bamboo toothbrush? BAMKIKI. Retrieved March 8, 2023, from https://www.bamkiki.com.au/blog/what-are-the-benefits-of-using-a-bamboo-toothbrush
 Bamboo Plants HQ. (2023, February 24). 12 Pros & Cons of bamboo toothbrushes. Bamboo Plants HQ. Retrieved March 8, 2023, from https://bambooplantshq.com/pros-cons-bamboo-toothbrushes/#What_are_the_cons_of_bamboo_toothbrushes