Electric vs manual tooth brushing

Did you know an average person will use 300 toothbrushes in a lifetime?

One billion toothbrushes are thrown away every single year in the States alone, and every plastic toothbrush ever made still exists.

Photography Credit: Henric Lagermannen

Since the first nylon toothbrush was produced in the 30s, billions and billions of toothbrushes have made their way into landfill, the incineration rooms and our oceans. Most toothbrushes are non-recyclable, as their small bristles get stuck in recycling machines and break them. And so we keep on throwing them away with our general rubbish.


Bamboo Toothbrushes

Bamboo doesn't need any fertilizers/pesticides to grow, but did you also know it can grow in poor soil? Bamboo can grow up to a meter per day and doesn't need anything else than just rainwater. It also absorbs carbon dioxide and is said to produce 35% more oxygen than trees do. It's extremely versatile in it's use and has been used for thousands of years in construction, weaponry, medicine and food products.


Brushing Electric

23 million people in Britain are brushing electric, that's about one third of its residents. I'm not getting into the amount of toothbrushes going into landfill here, because it's all shit anyway and at least they're a lot smaller than fully plastic toothbrushes.


So, let's talk money!

Electric brushes are so much more expensive than non-electric, which is really just a clever marketing stunt. The two big guys, Oral-B and Sonicare, have dominated the market for years, with 2/3rds of all money spent on electric toothbrushes going into their pockets.

Especially when the powered toothbrush was just invented, they were crazy expensive (equivalent to £30-£180 for one which wasn't rechargeable). The ones back then weren't even officially better than your plain old stick with bristles, but people thought they would clean their teeth better anyway, and because of that, oral hygiene became more prevalent and more important in their day to day lives, automatically bettering their oral health because of it.

Many studies have been done to see if manual toothbrushes are still better than electric ones, and after universities finally conducted their own independent studies - as they didn't trust the studies done by pharmaceutical companies - electric ones came out as the better brush, both in the plaque and gingivitis department. In 2010, researchers even found out that the way the bristles rotate also have an effect on oral hygiene: the Oral-B rotating heads are better than the Philips (Sonicare) side-to-side bristles.

So, I guess I should really brush electric more often, with rotating bristles.

Read here my reviews on both bamboo biodegradable brushes and recyclable electric tooth brush heads: