Seven plastic toothbrushes

You probably know that it’s important to keep up with daily brushing & flossing to keep your teeth & gums healthy & maintain your oral health, but you might be wondering what the toothbrush you use every day is made of. 

Traditional Toothbrushes

Most toothbrushes have plastic handles that are made by injecting plastic into molds. Plastic is common in toothbrush handles because it’s resistant to bacterial growth, which means that harmful bacteria is less likely to grow on your toothbrush between uses. Plus, the bacteria in your mouth won’t break down your toothbrush as you use it. 

Not only does plastic resist bacteria more than other materials, but it’s also easier to sanitize. This means that any bacteria your toothbrush does collect can be easily removed. 


Most toothbrush bristles, whether soft, medium or hard, are made of nylon, a synthetic fiber that won’t break down in water or in the ingredients commonly used in toothpaste. Other materials may be less resilient, so toothbrushes with alternative bristles may need to be replaced more often than toothbrushes with nylon bristles.

Recycling Your Toothbrush

You may be wondering if it’s possible to recycle your toothbrush. Although recycling your toothbrush can be difficult because regular recycling programs require different materials to be separated, meaning you’d have to separate your toothbrush handle & its bristles, there are programs that allow you to send in your toothbrush to be recycled. 

Eco-Friendly Toothbrushes & Bristles

If you want to avoid plastic, there are several eco-friendly alternatives to plastic toothbrushes you can use. Most eco-friendly toothbrushes have wooden handles, usually bamboo, because it is more antimicrobial than other alternative materials. 

Eco-friendly bristles are tougher to find. Boar or pig hair bristles are more common in Europe than in the United States, but for now there aren’t any bristle options available that are both biodegradable & vegetarian. 

If you’re thinking about making the switch to a different type of toothbrush, talk to your dentist about finding the best option for you!

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