Frisco Kid’s Dentistry, Dr. Paul Rubin and Dr. David Sentelle, have started a dental awareness program that gives your child a free biodegradable toothbrush during their first visit, and then a new one is mailed to your child every month for six months after your initial visit. Frisco Kid’s Dentistry will also send a free biodegradable toothbrush to a Frisco child in need when we receive a patient referral from a family in this program.
Why Give Away Free Biodegradable Toothbrushes?
Frisco Kid’s Dentistry is committed to helping our patients enjoy excellent dental health for life. Brushing regularly, thoroughly, and with a proper toothbrush will help prevent dental cavities, which is the second most common disease in the country, with the common cold being first. Because tooth decay is infectious, the bacteria that causes cavities can spread to other areas of the body, complicating any chronic conditions that may be present.
By giving away toothbrushes, we are encouraging brushing, which is the most effective method of preventing cavities. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommendations for brushing include using a soft-bristled toothbrush combined with gentle pressure. Harder bristles can cause gum damage and recession, as well as wear down tooth enamel. Research shows that harder bristles do not remove plaque any better than soft bristles, and the soft bristled toothbrushes tend to clean more thoroughly because they are easier to maneuver into hard-to-reach areas of the mouth.
Plastic Vs. Biodegradable Toothbrushes
Replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months (or sooner if the bristles become frayed) is recommended by the ADA, so what happens to all the old toothbrushes? The answer is probably one that most people do not think about. Over one billion plastic toothbrushes (50 million pounds) end up in U.S. landfills each year. Each plastic toothbrush takes over 400 years to decompose, so when we do the math, the numbers are staggering. In addition, while they sit in landfills, they can release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere that can also be damaging. Both electric and manual plastic toothbrushes are made utilizing crude oil, which is a non-renewable resource, making them even less eco-friendly.
Giving away biodegradable toothbrushes is one way that we at Frisco Kid’s Dentistry can do our part to be environmentally friendly. Bamboo toothbrushes are USDA Certified, plant-based toothbrushes that are non-toxic, gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, and verified BPA-free. While animal-based (pig hair) bristles, which were common before nylon was invented in the 1930’s, are the only 100% compostable bristles, they can harbor bacteria, and many people are unwilling to use bristles made from animals. Bamboo toothbrush bristles are typically comprised of a combination of castor bean oil and nylon, making them bio-based which, while still not perfect environmentally, greatly reduces the use of plastics.
The handle, which is biodegradable, is made of organic wild mountain bamboo that has never been treated with fertilizers or pesticides. As the fastest growing plant on earth, bamboo is an extremely sustainable resource, replenishing to full size in just two years after it is harvested. It is naturally antibacterial, and the giant Moso variety used to create toothbrushes is panda-safe, meaning it is not the bamboo pandas use for food or habitat. Even the packaging is 100% paper and biodegradable. Knowing the facts about bamboo and its impact on the environment can be an encouragement to brush and a great conversation starter about the importance of maintaining good dental hygiene.
Using and Caring for Your Bamboo Toothbrush
One of the best things about having a bamboo toothbrush is that using and caring for it is basically the same as any other toothbrush. It is best to keep your bamboo toothbrush in a dry area (such as an open-air toothbrush holder), not an enclosed cup that can collect water. The soft bristles of the bamboo brush can be washed and cared for just as a conventional toothbrush.
The bamboo portion of your brush that goes into the mouth may fade the more you use it. This is a normal process of the bamboo and will not affect your toothbrushing in any way. A bamboo toothbrush should last as long as any toothbrush and should be replaced approximately every 3 months or when the bristles become frayed. When disposing of your old bamboo brush, the handle can be upcycled or composted. The bristles can be removed and recycled, but even if thrown away, the amount of plastic waste is less than .01 ounce, a great improvement over conventional toothbrush waste.
We’re excited about this program with Brush 4 Brush, which not only helps our patients maintain beautiful smiles, but keeps our world healthy as well.