Your oral health can offer a window into your general state of wellbeing.
Having the right toothbrush, with decent brush heads, is key to keeping your oral health in tip-top shape, but can you get one that, literally, doesn’t cost the earth?
One billion toothbrushes are thrown away in the U.S. annually. That equates to a staggering 50 million pounds of plastic waste sent to landfills every year.
This is terrible for the planet and bad for your wallet.
A good quality, ethically made, eco-friendly electric toothbrush is a simple way to reduce plastic waste and save you a few bucks along the way.
What’s Included: Hybrid brush head, base, USB charger, travel pouch.
They Say: Dare to do more with the improved ISSA 2. By blending durable PBT polymer and ultra-soft silicone into one remarkable sonic toothbrush that now lasts for 365 days on a single charge, ISSA 2 can keep you smiling without a second’s pause.
We Say: This is the toothbrush I’ve been using myself since the start of 2021.
What sold it for me was the claim it can last a full year on a single charge. A claim that I’m pleased to say is standing up so far six months into ownership.
The sonic pulse technology is incredible and leaves my teeth spotlessly clean. This feature might be a bit too powerful for those with sensitive teeth, but I’ve no doubt most users will really benefit!
I also like the fact that the replacement toothbrush heads are made from medical-grade silicone and last for an entire year.
It really is a ‘set and forget’ eco-friendly toothbrush. Simply pick one day every year to charge it and replace the head.
The tongue cleaner attachment is also great for removing the furry buildup from your tongue.
My choice above is based on my own personal experience and desire for an eco-friendly electric toothbrush with the longest battery life.
There are, however, other characteristics that you might want to consider when deciding which eco-friendly electric toothbrush is right for you.
The Foreo Issa 2 ticks all these boxes.
According to Mayo Clinic, there are eight conditions that can be linked to oral health:
In my experience, powered toothbrushes give a much more thorough clean than their manual counterparts.
I believe finding a sustainable electric toothbrush is key to looking after your oral health and the health of the planet.
Look for a well-made product that’s built to last.
An electric toothbrush can have all the eco-friendly credentials in the world, but they mean nothing if it keeps breaking down and has to be replaced often.
Replacing the toothbrush heads is an unavoidable part of keeping your teeth clean and maintaining good oral hygiene. Choose the eco-friendly option and go for a brush head that needs replacing as little as possible.
Try to pick a toothbrush containing as many recyclable plastic elements as possible. Non-toxic and BPA free materials are also important.
The type of packaging used should also be taken into consideration. Plastic-free packaging, such as a sustainable cardboard box, would be favorable over plastic wrap, for example.
One of the issues preventing some electric toothbrushes from being considered truly eco-friendly is the battery.
Choose an eco-friendly electric toothbrush that has a long battery life and does not need charging too much.
Some eco-friendly electric toothbrushes now come with a low-energy USB cable which is much more energy-efficient than the standard toothbrush base chargers.
It’s worth noting though that all rechargeable batteries contain some level of toxic chemicals. Always follow manufacturer guidelines when dealing with disposable batteries and replaceable batteries that have come to the end of their usable life.
This is a simple but effective way to ensure that you maintain a good dental hygiene routine and brush your teeth for the recommended amount of time. It also prevents you from brushing for too long and wasting electricity.
For electric toothbrushes to be considered eco-friendly they need to have been produced using processes and materials that cause as little harm to the planet as possible.
Steer away from brands and corporations with a reputation for greenwashing.
There is no getting away from the fact that nylon bristles and electric toothbrush heads eventually come to the end of their life. A sustainable brand will offer you ways to easily recycle these items.
Smaller companies are playing their part too. In the UK, Georganics offers a ‘Zero To Landfill’ recycling scheme to enable customers to recycle items that cannot be recycled by local centers.
Here at The Roundup, we’ve scoured the eco-friendly toothbrush market to find the best of the best in a number of categories.
You've seen the overall winner, but there were some others that really caught our eye.
What’s Included: 1 x DiamondClean Smart handle, 3 x C3 Premium Plaque Control brush heads, 2 x G3 Premium Gum Care brush heads, 2 x W3 Premium White standard brush heads, 1 x TongueCare+ tongue brush, 1 x glass charger, 1 x USB charging travel case.
They Say: Sensors and app help you perfect your technique, and get a complete clean. Sonicare's Premium brush heads automatically select optimal mode and intensity. 5 modes and 3 intensities let you focus on each aspect of your oral health. Brush head reordering service automatically orders brush heads for you. Stylish charging glass and deluxe travel case for charging on the go.
We Say: This is the priciest option we’ve reviewed, but you sure do get a lot of bang for your buck. The overall build quality, the stylish charging glass, the number of different electric toothbrush heads included, and choice of brushing modes all point to a premium product.
We were also impressed with the convenience of the USB charging travel case, making it easy to charge when in the car or on the train.
One gripe was the time between charges. It’s officially advertised as 14 days but our experience was more like 12 days.
This toothbrush even comes with its own Eco Passport so you can judge for yourself whether or not it’s an eco-friendly toothbrush.
Philips branded replacement heads are readily available and cost around $40 for a pack of four.
There are also plenty of non-Philips branded options when you need replacement heads. This is good if you’re looking to cut costs or switch to a more planet-friendly option.
This is an incredible toothbrush and one you should definitely consider if your budget can stretch that far.
What’s Included: 1 x handle, 2 x activated charcoal brush heads, 1 x magnetic docking station, 1 x removable micro USB cord.
They Say: The Boka Brush features designer driven form, stainless-steel accents and a magnetic charging base. The brush uses sonic technology to deliver a gentle yet effective clean, vibrating at 30,000 per minute.
We Say: The Boka Brush claims to be the first electric toothbrush to feature activated charcoal fiber bristles in place of the standard nylon bristles. This feature helps reduce bacteria and gives a more gentle brushing experience.
The battery life is advertised as being 25 days between charges, something that held true during our tests.
When it comes to replacement heads for the Boka Brush you options are limited. Only official Boka Brush replacement heads will fit the handle. They will set you back $12 for a pack of two (or $9.60 if you signup to the ‘Subscribe & Save’ service.
This is a solid eco-friendly toothbrush, with some nice design features, at a very competitive price.
What’s Included: Slim handle, soft-bristles brush head, timed sonic vibrations, 3-month battery life.
They Say: The first subscription Electric Toothbrush, Refillable Floss, Toothpaste & Gum accepted by the American Dental Association.
We Say: Available in recycled plastic or metal, Quip brushes have a sleek design but can really pack a punch (15,000 brush movements per minute to be precise) when it comes to keeping your teeth in A1 condition.
Personally, I’m not that keen on removable batteries, but I know many people prefer them. I agree it can definitely prolong the life of the unit in some cases (the internal battery is usually the first thing to stop working) and you can always swap to a rechargeable AAA battery to make it more sustainable.
One thing to watch with this is the price of the replaceable toothbrush heads. If you subscribe to the refill plan they will send you a new head every three months for $5. However, if you don’t take the plan the same replaceable heads will cost you an eye-watering $15 a pop.
What’s Included: Handle, brush head, travel cover.
They Say: Get ready to go Beyond electric™ with the Be. Brush. Goodwell's patented design uses no cords or batteries, so you get all the power of an electric toothbrush and none of the waste.
We Say: I’m very excited about the launch of this potentially game-changing toothbrush.
It has replaced electricity with human power (the ultimate renewable energy).
You get the cleaning benefits of an electric brush, with the electricity usage of a manual brush.
Just turn the handle a few times to load energy into the spring motor and away it goes producing, according to the manufacturer, the same level of cleaning power as a battery power electric toothbrush head.
It’s a bold claim indeed, and one I can’t wait to test out for myself.
They also recycle all old oral care products via their Take-Back Program.
Replacement heads for the Be. Brush will set you back $21 + shipping for a pack of three. You can also subscribe to get a three-pack sent to your door every nine months and qualify for free U.S. shipping.
To be honest, this eco-friendly marvel almost made it as my overall winner and it’s not even been released yet! I feel a revisit to this article is definitely needed once I’ve got my hands on the Be. Brush and put it through its paces.
What if your old electric toothbrush handle is still working fine, or you simply prefer the idea of a manual toothbrush?
Our guide to the best eco-friendly manual toothbrushes goes into a lot more detail on the various bamboo manual brushes on the market. But there are also the following options for you to consider:
RRP: $9.99 for a pack of eight
We Say: If you’re in the market for recyclable electric toothbrush heads then these are definitely worth a look.
Fully compatible with all Oral-B electric toothbrushes with circular brush heads, except Oral-B Pulsonic and iO.
These charcoal-infused heads offer natural tooth whitening and stain removal.
RRP: $24.99 for a pack of 3
We Say: I struggled to find many eco-friendly replacement heads for an old Philips Sonicare handle, but these fully biodegradable ones do a pretty good job and are fully compatible with Sonicare brushes.
They're not a cheap alternative. However, being biodegradable, dentist designed and made from sustainable bamboo, they’re a great option for those of you looking to bring more eco-friendly products into your daily routine.
RRP: $5.99 for a pack of four
We Say: With over 11,000 reviews on Amazon, and an average score of 4.6 out of 5, this plastic-free toothbrush is a clear winner for those of you who like the sound of eco-friendly toothbrushes, just not with the batteries and chargers.
Each recyclable toothbrush is numbered (1-4) and the pack is designed to last one person a full year.
The packaging is also pretty much as green as it gets, made from recycled and biodegradable craft paper.
RRP: $18.90 for a pack of six
We Say: Preserve is a sustainable consumer goods company, with excellent eco-friendly credentials, who offer a wide range of recycled plastic toothbrushes in different colors and firmness.
They’re a certified B Corporation and all products are made from 100% recycled plastic, in the U.S., BPA free, and with no animal testing.
Preserve toothbrushes are a firm favorite with those looking to support sustainable U.S. brush makes.
RRP: $9.95 for a pack of five
We Say: The handle of this plant-based and biodegradable toothbrush is made from Polylactic Acid (PLA), derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugar cane.
These eco-friendly toothbrushes come in a range of colors and are shipping in 100% recyclable paper packaging.
Yes, your dentist will confirm that a bamboo toothbrush is just as good for your teeth as a plastic one, but doesn’t produce toxins when it decomposes. Choose a bamboo toothbrush with the appropriate brush head size and firmness for your specific needs.
No, an electric toothbrush will not damage your teeth. When used properly an electric toothbrush will improve your overall oral health.
According to the manufacturer, yes it is. Philips produces an ‘eco passport’ for each of its products. Just Google the model followed by ‘eco passport’ to discover more. Electric brushes can be made more eco-friendly by opting for greener replacement toothbrush heads.
Some would argue that eco-friendly electric toothbrushes don’t actually exist due to the materials used (plastic, toxic chemicals, nylon bristles, etc) and the pollution caused by lithium battery disposal.
Choosing an eco-friendly toothpaste and a zero waste mouthwash can help improve your bathroom's eco-credentials. But balance is needed between doing the right thing for the planet and your oral health.
That is why I believe electric toothbrushes, made to last from eco-friendly materials, are the most sustainable green option when it comes to an effective oral health routine.
A good quality rechargeable electric toothbrush will last you many years.