what are toothbrushes made of

What Are Toothbrushes Made of?

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Have you ever wondered what toothbrushes are made of? If you said yes, you might be a certified tooth nerd like me. I’m obsessed with all things dental hygiene and I love learning random facts about the dental field. Or maybe you need to know for a school project or something. Either way, here we are, to find out what toothbrushes are made of.


What are toothbrushes made of?

Back in the day, and by back in the day I mean in 3000 BC, people chewed on sticks for toothbrushes. According to Wikipedia, these chew sticks were made from twigs in which the ends would fray and then they would use the other end as a toothpick.

According to Everyday Mysteries, before 1498, people used hairs off of a hogs neck attached to a stick handle made of bone or bamboo.

The bristle toothbrush, similar to the type used today, was not invented until 1498 in China. The bristles were actually the stiff, coarse hairs taken from the back of a hog’s neck and attached to handles made of bone or bamboo.


The toothbrush with a design like we use today, was invented in 1983. Toothbrushes today can be made of several different types of materials. They are usually made of a plastic handle and nylon bristles. Some other components may contain silicone or rubber for certain parts.

Biodegradable Toothbrushes

However, other the years, toothbrushes have progressed. We are placing more and more emphasis on protecting the environment. None of the above materials used in most toothbrushes are biodegradable. This means the materials do not breakdown so they just sit wasting in the landfills.

Being mindful of our environment, some toothbrush companies are making improvements and making toothbrushes that are made of bamboo. Bamboo is biodegradable. It seems like those same companies are having a hard time finding something truly biodegradable for the bristles though.

Companies have been able to make improvements by using less petroleum based plastic though. But most seem to only have mastered the biodegradable handle but not biodegradable bristles.

Until they find something truly biodegradable, I always suggest re-purposing your toothbrushes. They make great shoe and tile grout cleaners!

My Favorite Toothbrush

As a dental hygienist I spend a lot of time researching the best and most effecient oral hygiene tools. My favorite toothbrush of all time is the BURST Oral Care Sonic Toothbrush. You can read ALL about it and see why it is so unique and amazing HERE in my review post plus save $30 on one by using my dental hygiene code FFERVX making it affordable at only $39.99!

Bonus, electric toothbrushes have less waste because you are only replacing the small toothbrush replacement head instead of the entire toothbrush.

Kelly Hancock, RDH

Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.

This article and all advice on this website, Toothbrush Life, is intended to help people gain knowledge about general oral health topics. No articles or advice on this website are intended to replace professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or qualified healthcare provider to help you with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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