27th Govember 2019
Many dentists recommend that we change our toothbrush every three months. Now the reality of that is different for everyone. You may be a particularly aggressive brusher and wear the bristles down quicker or fancy a change of colour (don't pretend you don't get a little bit excited when picking out a new toothbrush). On the flip side, 6 months go by and you might still be there with the same old trusty brush... you filthy devil, you.
Every plastic toothbrush you have used since your first tooth erupted is still somewhere on Earth. In fact, even the toothbrushes your grandparents used will be around. That is a lot of toothbrushes.
The reason your toothbrushes are still around is that plastic doesn't biodegrade. It will eventually break down into smaller pieces (degrade), but will never completely disappear. But despite this becoming an environmental burden, we can't just stop brushing our teeth or we'd have to start blending our food and living at the dentist.
What we can do, however, is change the material we choose. Although 99% of the world's toothbrushes are plastic, it doesn't mean it's the only option. One really prevalent alternative is bamboo. These toothbrushes have biodegradable handles, so can be put straight into the compost bin after use.
Bamboo also has antimicrobial properties, which aren't lost during the manufacturing process. This is a great property for something that you're going to be shoving into your mouth and rubbing up against all that bacteria that's culturing in there (what else did you think gave you bad breath?). Despite these properties, it's still advised that you keep your toothbrush to yourself and don't go sharing it around...
The only drawback to these is that there is yet to be a plastic-free bristle. However, many companies selling bamboo toothbrushes have been able to reduce the amount of plastic in their bristles. This simply means that the bristles need to be removed before composting.
There has been some research into using boar hair as a replacement for bristles, but as you can imagine, it isn't all that hygienic and goes against cruelty-free policies. This is still an area that needs developing- so if you have any ingenious solutions, get inventing!
So, next time you find yourself in need of a new toothbrush, we really encourage you to consider a bamboo alternative. You won't notice the difference, but our planet will!
Come back tomorrow for razors!