In my electric toothbrush article, I concluded that electric toothbrushes could be considered eco-friendly, if:
I still believe this to be the case, but I was wondering the other day if it’s possible to make electric toothbrushes even more eco-friendly.
Four words came to mind: Bamboo electric toothbrush heads.
When I initially wrote the electric toothbrush article, the options for bamboo electric toothbrush heads were limited.
However, more bamboo electric toothbrush heads have come to market since then, and I feel the topic now warrants its own article.
They Say: The world's most sold bamboo toothbrush goes electrical. With replaceable heads for sonic toothbrushes, we're inching closer and closer to restoring nature to what it once was. Cutting plastic usage by 88%, our new electrical toothbrush bamboo head is a game-changer. The responsible option to your current electrical toothbrush routine.
We Say: The Humble Co. claims that their humble brush is the most sold bamboo toothbrush globally.
So it stands to reason that they should know a thing or two about what makes a good bamboo electric toothbrush head.
These replacement heads fit perfectly on my old Philips Sonicare toothbrush. They gave an excellent clean without moving around on the toothbrush. The design has clearly been well thought out.
Due to the moving parts needed in electric toothbrush heads, it’s practically impossible to make a fully plastic-free bamboo brush head.
The Humble Co. has kept the plastic to the bare minimum with these heads. 12% is pretty impressive!
When it comes to disposal, simply pluck out the bristles and corn starch adapter with pliers (these can be recycled as plastics), and the bamboo that's left can be disposed of in an industrial composting facility.
These replacement heads are not certified for home composting, but I see no reason why you couldn’t do so. It might take a bit longer than in an industrial facility, but I’ve no doubt it would eventually break down.
My opinion about whether or not charcoal-infused toothbrush bristles work changes on almost a weekly basis. The research is a bit wishy-washy, but I do feel that my teeth look slightly whiter after using charcoal-infused for a while.
However, if you don't want charcoal-infused bristles, The Humble Co. also sells a non-charcoal option.
In fact, they have an entire range of eco-friendly oral care products here.
They Say: Fits perfectly snap-on handle. Our electric brush heads are compatible with Sonicare toothbrushes and are made of eco-friendly, natural sustainably-grown bamboo that's biodegradable and good for the environment. We eliminate the use of plastic in our packaging too. Our eco-friendly toothbrush heads come packed in a 100% recyclable paper box.
We Say: This is an excellent option if you want charcoal-infused bristles but don’t want to pay The Humble Co. premium price.
One word of caution, though, this brush head didn't fit as snug on my old Sonicare toothbrush as The Humble Co. one. It rattled slightly, and I feel that, over time, this might lead to some performance/reliability issues due to worn parts.
PURE EARTH brush heads need to be prepared in the usual way before tossing on the compost heap (remove the bristles and the small internal mechanism).
They Say: Isshah toothbrush head's primary material is bamboo. With BPA-free nylon bristles and a wavy pattern, our brush heads are gentle on gums while great at hitting hard-to-reach places in your mouth, cavity prevention, removing surface stains, and helping to remove plaque. Our bamboo toothbrush heads come with a recyclable cardboard box.
We Say: I was impressed with Isshah when I tested their manual bamboo toothbrushes for my eco-friendly toothbrush article.
So, I was also keen to get my hands on their bamboo electric toothbrush heads.
They’re a solid alternative for standard Philips Sonicare replacement heads.
However, as with PURE EARTH, I felt the fit was not perfect like it was with The Humble Co.
This might vary from model to model, though, and, for the price, they’re a strong contender.
As will all the brush heads in this article, they’re fully compostable once you remove the nylon bristles and the small internal plastic mechanism (both of which can be recycled with your standard plastic waste).
They Say: Reducing your environmental footprint starts with simple, conscious changes. This is why we developed our bamboo electric toothbrush replacement heads made with 100% ethically sourced bamboo. We appreciate everyone willing to take the first step to reduce our impact on the environment and contribute to our mission of reducing human impact on the planet!
We Say: At less than seven bucks for five bamboo electric toothbrush heads, this option represents an absolute bargain…providing they fit snug on your toothbrush, that is!
They were slightly loose when testing with my old Sonicare but worked fine. However, some reviews on Amazon have reported issues with them simply not fitting on their model of toothbrush.
When buying these, some caution might be needed as unnecessary returns are not eco-friendly.
I can only speak for my experience of these brush heads. They do a good job…at an incredible price!
They’re also Climate Pledge Friendly.
To dispose of these brush heads responsibly, remove the nylon bristles and the small internal plastic mechanism (both of which can be recycled with your standard plastic waste) and the compost (either at home or commercially).
One way around the issue of finding brush heads to perfectly fit your existing electric toothbrush is to buy an eco-friendly electric toothbrush brand that makes its own bamboo brush heads.
This is an option I would only recommend if your existing electric toothbrush has reached the end of its usable life.
If you’re in the market for a new bamboo electric toothbrush, I can highly recommend the Etee Electric Bamboo Toothbrush for the following reasons:
Their bamboo electric toothbrush is a thing of eco-friendly beauty.
The body and charging cradle are made from 100% recyclable, lightweight plastic and metal.
The ultra eco brush heads are made from bamboo and are 100% compostable (once the bristles have been pulled out).
All this eco loveliness is packaged in a compostable egg carton inner tray and a 100% recyclable outer box.
A kick-ass eco-friendly product from a kick-ass eco-friendly company.
I found no viable Braun compatible options when testing bamboo brush heads. It would appear that the design is too complex to replicate in bamboo.
I did find one option claiming to be a Braun compatible bamboo electric toothbrush head. But when it came, it was a plastic head with bamboo-infused nylon bristles. Textbook greenwashing!
I’ll key an eye out for future developments and update this article accordingly.
No. Unfortunately not. Electric toothbrush heads are usually designed to fit specific makes/models of toothbrushes.
I’ve tried all types of eco-friendly brush head shapes over the years and haven't noticed much difference.
But, according to Preferred Dental Care:
“Conventionally shaped toothbrush heads are rounded or squared off. Diamond-shaped toothbrushes tend to be better at reaching the back and sides of your molars. Several different bristle patterns are effective at cleaning teeth. Common varieties include wavy, crisscross, tapered, and bristles with polishing cups. Your choice should depend on your dental needs and what feels the most comfortable”.
You should replace most toothbrush heads every three months.
However, if you apply excessive pressure when brushing, or brush more than twice a day, you might have to replace it sooner.
Most electric toothbrushes are water-resistant rather than waterproof. This means they can easily cope with being placed under running water, etc.
However, leaving them submerged in water for long periods might lead to leakage and malfunction.
According to National Geographic, “a billion toothbrushes will be thrown away in the U.S. this year, most of them plastic”.
When you hear numbers like that you start to realize the impact of your oral hygiene choices on the planet.
If you're not keen on electric toothbrushes but love the idea of brushing with bamboo, then check out my zero waste manual toothbrush article.
Where do you buy your eco-friendly replacement toothbrush heads? Have I missed someone doing good for the planet with brush heads made from eco-friendly bamboo? What’s your favorite eco-friendly personal care brand? Drop me a line and let me know.