Researchers ask: how sustainable is your toothbrush?

There is presently little quantifiable evidence available on the effect of the toothbrush on the globe, despite the fact that it is a frequently recommended healthcare item globally. The British Dental Journal has now published the findings of the study, which was conducted in conjunction with the University College London’s Eastman Dental Institute (Tuesday, 15th September 2020). Using a life-cycle assessment (LCA) for a healthcare product is groundbreaking since it’s the first time it’s been done. Healthcare is a significant source of pollution that has a negative impact on people’s health, yet few people in the business and the general public are aware of this. Current data and advice on the long-term viability of healthcare treatments, services, and technologies is few. In this study, researchers looked at various toothbrush production methods, calculating their environmental and human health impacts (DALYS) as a result. A variety of brushes were utilized, including the electric toothbrush, a regular plastic brush with replacement bristles, and a bamboo brush. According to the research, electric toothbrushes are somewhat detrimental to the health of the world.

The results show how the toothbrush manufacturing process has a negative impact on human health. Most of the individuals involved in the process of manufacturing and producing the electric toothbrush are disabled for 10 hours as assessed by Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYS). Five times as much as a regular plastic brush, this one is. The most ecologically friendly toothbrush, according to the researchers, wasn’t bamboo after all. Instead, it was a fictitious continuously recycled plastic toothbrush.

By comparing the environmental effect outcomes of bamboo manual toothbrushes and plastic manual toothbrushes, this research concluded that bamboo toothbrushes are superior than plastic manual toothbrushes in every way. These findings may help individual consumers make better oral health choices, as well as public health programs buy more toothbrushes. “The number of toothbrushes used and thrown each year is in the billions (and growing). According to our findings, electric toothbrushes are bad for the environment and the individuals who work in the industry that makes and distributes them. Only if you have trouble brushing your teeth with a regular toothbrush will they be more effective, as shown by the little research available. Bamboo toothbrushes, on the other hand, are clearly not the solution. They just prevent land from being put to greater use, such as supporting biodiversity or planting trees to offset carbon emissions.

For the best results, look for a toothbrush made from plastic that is continuously recycled. When it comes to growing plastic brushes, less is more. They take up less space and use less water. Keeping the plastic in the recycling process is critical here. Plastic toothbrushes must be gathered like batteries and recycled into new goods in a manner similar to that needed for batteries. Even if the plastic does not make it back into the recycling process, it must be readily and organically decomposed into safe compounds. When suggesting goods, everyone from manufacturers to customers to health care providers and policymakers should keep environmental sustainability, money, and people’s health in mind. Governments and businesses should think about how they might help recycling programs by providing financial assistance. There also needs to be more money allocated to sustainability research.”

Reference : Trinity College Dublin. (2020, September 16). Researchers ask: how sustainable is your toothbrush?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 5, 2021 from

Categories: Dental