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When my husband asked me if I knew of any eco-friendly electrict toothbrushes, I honestly thought it was one of his daddy jokes!
But no, he was serious!
The short answer is – a 100% eco-friendly electric toothbrush doesn’t exist (yet). But my husband does have a point. While I am more than happy with bamboo toothbrush alternatives, our kids are much more likely to do a better job at cleaning their teeth with an electric toothbrush!
While we’ve yet to perfect an electric toothbrush that has no negative impact on the environment, we’ve made some amazing progress in recent years. We’re very excited about the future of the dental industry and its progress toward greater sustainability.
Right now, our pick for the best eco-friendly electrical toothbrush is the FOREO Issa 2. This silicone toothbrush has an incredibly long battery life and non-nylon bristles.
At the end of the day, it’s not about being perfect. Instead, your goal should be to have as small of an impact on the environment as possible.
Is There Such a Thing as an Eco-Friendly Electric Toothbrush?
It’s true that all battery-powered toothbrushes have a carbon footprint of some kind. But it’s also true that some toothbrush models are better than others.
The most eco-friendly toothbrushes are those that:
- Use recycled/recyclable materials
- Avoid nylon bristles
- Are energy-efficient
- Have replaceable brush heads
- Encourage proper disposal
Smart consumers can greatly limit their plastic consumption by switching to a more eco-friendly electric toothbrush. Combined with responsible recycling practices, you might be surprised by the impact a “greener” toothbrush could have on your oral care routine.
Our Top Picks in Eco-Friendly Electric Toothbrushes
Best Environmentally-Friendly Electric Toothbrushes
Best Overall – FOREO Issa 2
You might be surprised to learn that the FOREO Issa 2 is a more eco-friendly alternative to plastic models. But compared to plastic, silicone is far more durable. It’s also less damaging to the environment once discarded (don’t worry — you can still recycle it!).
The FOREO Issa 2 isn’t just on this list because of the silicone exterior. This electric toothbrush has a rechargeable battery that can last for an entire year on a single charge. That means less power is consumed every time you brush.
Even the bristles of this toothbrush are made of medical-grade silicone. So you can easily replace the brush head every few months without contributing to the amount of nylon entering our landfills.
Thanks to the silicone construction and long-lasting battery, this electric toothbrush is guaranteed to last a long time. Just in case, though, it comes with a 2-year warranty.
- Made entirely of silicone
- Single charge lasts for 365 days
- Backed by two-year warranty
- Weaker than other electric toothbrushes
- Replacement heads do not last as long as promised
Best Recycling Program – Georganics Sonic Toothbrush
Many of the best eco-friendly electric toothbrushes are merely happy accidents. If you want to purchase from a company that puts sustainability at the forefront, then the Georganics Sonic Toothbrush is at the top of our list.
Based in the U.K., Georganics strives to use environmentally friendly materials in its packaging and materials. It also oversees a zero-to-landfill program that encourages consumers to recycle old oral health products rather than throw them away.
While the Georganics Sonic Toothbrush is made of plastic and features nylon bristles, everything is recyclable through the brand’s program. That includes the rechargeable lithium battery.
The packaging for this toothbrush is entirely recyclable and compostable at home. It also comes in two versions: One with an E.U. plug and one with a U.S. plug.
- Packaged using compostable materials
- Zero-to-landfill recycling program
- Available in E.U. and U.S. versions
- Made of plastic and nylon
- Only available from select retailers
Best Budget Option – Quip Electric Toothbrush
If you’ve kept up with the biggest direct-to-consumer brands of the last few years, then you’ve definitely heard the brand name Quip. The Quip Electric Toothbrush — specifically, the metal version — is a worthy option for eco-friendly dental hygiene.
On top of using metal for a large portion of the toothbrush handle, Quip designs its electric toothbrushes to be much smaller than average. This means fewer materials used overall, regardless of if those materials are sustainable or not.
While you can opt for a metal handle, all of Quip’s replacement brush heads are plastic. They also feature nylon bristles, which are one of the hardest materials to properly recycle.
Keep in mind that the Quip Electric Toothbrush is not rechargeable. Instead, it runs for up to 3 months on a replaceable AAA battery.
- Automatic brush head subscription available
- Made of recyclable metal
- Quip products available at many major retailers
- Still relies on some plastic
- Nylon bristles
- Not rechargeable
Best for Frequent Travelers – PomaBrush Innovative Silicone Electric Toothbrush
FOREO might have created the first silicone toothbrush in the world. But, with the release of the PomaBrush, the Issa 2 is no longer the only one in existence. And we hope this is a sign that more companies will adopt this eco-friendly plastic alternative!
The PomaBrush is a brand new rechargeable electric toothbrush made of premium silicone instead of plastic. While the brush handle holds a charge for one month, the included charging case extends the time between charges to three months.
When it comes to brush heads, PomaBrush offers two options. One style features a mix of silicone and traditional nylon bristles. The other style is made entirely of silicone bristles.
If you decide the PomaBrush is the right dental health product for you, we recommend opting for the all-silicone brush heads. These heads are more sustainable and can last as long as 6 months before wearing out.
- All-silicone version available
- Single charge lasts up to three months
- Subscription service available
- Some brush heads feature nylon bristles
- Brand new so quality is unknown
Best Alternative Power Source – Goodwell Be. Brush
As we mentioned, the oral health industry is constantly changing and becoming more sustainable. One exciting future addition we want to mention is the Goodwell Be. Brush. This toothbrush is currently only available for pre-order.
The Goodwell Be. Brush features a handle made of recyclable stainless steel and replaceable heads made of degradable bioresin. Each brush head is also incredibly small, reducing the amount of waste.
While this electric toothbrush boasts eco-friendly materials, the most exciting innovation is the power source. Instead of a charging cable or replaceable battery, this toothbrush is “human-powered.”
The Goodwell Be. Brush uses a manual cranking mechanism built into the handle to generate power — much like a hand-crank flashlight. All you need to do is twist the handle a few times before each use.
- No battery or charger required
- Handle made of stainless steel
- Degradable replacement brush heads
- Bristle material unknown
- Pre-order only until late-2021
What to Consider When Buying an Eco-Friendly Electric Toothbrush
Most eco-friendly electric toothbrushes are labeled as such because of the materials used. In general, the less plastic used to make a particular toothbrush the more sustainable it is.
Very few toothbrushes are 100% free of plastic. Even metal and silicone electric toothbrushes often rely on nylon.
While nylon is the industry standard for toothbrush bristles, this material is incredibly bad for the environment. It’s also nearly impossible to recycle.
Along with the toothbrush itself, you should also take a close look at the materials used to package your new toothbrush. This can tell you a lot about the priorities of a specific company.
You could argue that most electric toothbrushes are more eco-friendly than manual ones simply because they use replaceable brush heads. If you come across an electric toothbrush that is one single unit — the brush head isn’t replaceable — it’s best to keep on shopping.
Replaceable brush heads can make a huge difference in how much plastic and nylon enter landfills each year. Even if consumers throw away their old electric brush heads, much less waste is produced than when throwing away a manual toothbrush.
There is some controversy over whether rechargeable or single-use batteries are best for the environment. Some consumer electronics are actually more sustainable when powered by single-use batteries.
Since your toothbrush is something you’ll use every day (ideally, multiple times per day), a rechargeable battery is likely the best option.
Whether you opt for an electric toothbrush with a rechargeable battery or not, battery life is an important factor to consider. The better your toothbrush battery holds a charge, the less power will be wasted over its lifetime.
Not all toothbrushes are the same. For the safest and most effective cleaning, it’s important to select a toothbrush brand backed by a professional organization like the American Dentist Association (ADA).
The ADA and similar organizations monitor the efficacy and safety of oral hygiene products before they are sold to consumers.
The biggest thing stopping many consumers from switching to an electric toothbrush is the cost. Especially when manual toothbrushes are readily available for free through dental offices and community outreach programs.
While manual toothbrushes can cost as little as a couple of dollars, electric models are much more expensive. The average cost can be anywhere between $30 to over $100.
Once you invest in the electric toothbrush handle, however, replaceable brush heads are much more affordable. You might even save money over time by switching to an electric toothbrush after the big upfront cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an electric toothbrush better than a manual one?
For the average person, electric toothbrushes are easier to use and deliver a more thorough cleaning. In 2019, a study by the Oral Health Foundation concluded that electric toothbrushes are more effective for maintaining dental health than manual brushing.
Are electric toothbrushes bad for the environment?
Electric toothbrushes are no worse for the environment than most other consumer goods. This is even more true if you opt for an eco-friendly model.
Are electric toothbrushes more eco-friendly?
As for whether electric toothbrushes are better than manual ones, the jury is out. Electric toothbrushes might consume more materials at first, but the ability to replace just the brush head is much more sustainable than throwing away an entire manual toothbrush.
How often should I replace my electric toothbrush head?
You should replace your toothbrush every three to four months. This recommendation mostly applies to nylon bristles.
Alternative materials (specifically, silicone) may last notably longer. Brush heads with silicone bristles can last up to six months.
Can I recycle my electric toothbrush?
Recycling your old toothbrushes is the best way to keep plastic and other hazardous materials out of landfills. But what many people don’t know is that toothbrushes (even manual ones) need to be recycled through a special program.
Sadly, many oral hygiene recycling programs won’t accept electric toothbrush handles. This varies by program, so we recommend doing your own research on programs in your region.
If you can’t find a specialty program to recycle your electric toothbrush handle through, the next best option is somewhere that recycles consumer electronics.
Can I recycle electric toothbrush heads?
You can’t discard your used electric brush heads in your household recycling bin. Instead, you’ll need to submit your old brush heads to one of the special recycling programs mentioned above.
The good news is that almost all programs will accept your brush heads, even if they don’t accept electric toothbrush handles.
What Is The Most Sustainable Toothbrush Material?
Right now, the most sustainable manual toothbrush we know of features a bamboo handle and boar hair bristles. These materials are completely biodegradable and compostable.
When it comes to electric toothbrushes, the most sustainable materials are silicone and metal. While these materials are neither biodegradable nor compostable, they are easily recycled.
Does a wooden electric toothbrush exist?
If you want a toothbrush made entirely of wood, a bamboo mechanical toothbrush is your only option. There aren’t currently any bamboo electric toothbrushes available.
If you just want to limit the amount of plastic you throw away, you can instead consider switching to bamboo brush heads for your existing electric toothbrush. These brush heads are available for popular electric toothbrushes from brands like Sonicare and Oral-B.
Are silicone toothbrush bristles as effective as nylon bristles?
Since silicone toothbrush bristles are a relatively new innovation, there’s little data available on their efficacy compared to traditional nylon bristles.
In general, silicone bristles are gentler than nylon ones. This makes them an excellent option for anyone with sensitive teeth or gums. Silicone bristles are also less likely to harbor bacteria than their nylon predecessors.
Last update on 2021-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API