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Bamboo Toothbrushes Best option for Planet Health say Researchers at Eastman Dental Institute and Trinity College Dublin

Bamboo Toothbrushes Best option for Planet Health say Researchers at Eastman Dental Institute and Trinity College Dublin

  • Virtue Brush
According to researchers at Trinity College Dublin Ireland and Eastman Dental Institute at University College London:

Based on this study, bamboo toothbrushes should be considered over traditional plastic and electric toothbrushes.

The climate change impact of the electric toothbrush is over 11 times greater than the bamboo toothbrush.

When considering land use, and the consequential reduction in biodiversity and habitat, the negative impact of the electric toothbrush was over 36 times that of the bamboo toothbrush.

The bamboo toothbrush used just 11 g of plastic over the five years, the lowest of all products (97% less plastic than the plastic manual toothbrush).

Fertilisers are used in less than 5% of industrial bamboo plantations as the fallen bamboo leaves provide sufficient nutrients for new shoots.

Bamboo cultivation is currently assumed to be carbon-neutral, as bamboo ecosystems are carbon sinks.

It was confirmed that no glue is used in the manufacture of the bamboo toothbrush (the handle is made from shaping raw bamboo and heat treating the surface to sterilise). 

This simple comparative LCA (Life-Cycle-Analysis) has shown that bamboo manual toothbrushes perform better than traditional plastic manual and electric toothbrushes in every environmental impact outcome measure used in this study. These results could be used to inform individual consumer choice, oral health recommendations, procurement of toothbrushes for public health programmes and toothbrush manufacturers.

The electric toothbrush performed consistently poorly and had the greatest impact in 15 out of 16 environmental categories.

The bamboo toothbrush had the lowest impact in all categories. The climate change potential of the electric toothbrush was 11 times greater than the bamboo toothbrush.

Although there is evidence that electric toothbrushes are associated with a greater level of plaque and gingivitis reduction compared to manual toothbrushes, there is no evidence that any type of toothbrush is more clinically effective for the prevention of dental caries and periodontal disease.

Source: Combining evidence-based healthcare with environmental sustainability: using the toothbrush as a model, British dental journal · September 2020
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