Are electric toothbrushes worth it?
Feb 02, 2021
The tools humans use to clean their teeth have come a long way. Egyptians crafted sticks and some form of bristles that got the job done. The toothbrush has certainly evolved from the days of animal bones and twigs, thankfully.
There’s no shortage of options for choosing a toothbrush. You can buy just about any size, shape, color, and style you can dream up. You can find manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrushes, and even toothbrushes that play music or glow.
Originally intended to be helpful to those with limited motor skills, the electric toothbrush was introduced to make people’s lives easier. We all love a little help making life easier, right? But, easier isn’t always better. There’s something to be said for the basics. There’s something to love about sustainable and effective oral care that’s equally as good for your mouth as it is for the planet.
ARE ALL TOOTHBRUSHES CREATED EQUAL?
No. All toothbrushes are not created equal. They’re not all created with the same materials, functionality, effectiveness, or the same long-term life cycle in mind.
While they move faster, powered toothbrushes don’t actually clean your teeth any better than manual brushing. Do you know what does clean your teeth well? YOU. Brushing your teeth with a toothbrush that gets your teeth AND your gums clean for the recommended length of time and frequency is what you need. It’s that simple.
Electric toothbrushes might be suitable for people who have limited mobility or arthritis, but, alas, the actual job of cleaning is not superior to a manual brush. The key is not being a lazy brusher. Brush well, brush thoroughly, and you can measure up with manual brushes just as well.
LET’S TALK MONEY.
Are electric brushes worth it? “Worth it” can be a loaded question. There’s the actual financial cost out of your pocket. Then there’s the environmental cost and the footprint we leave.
Financially, brushes can range from $1 to a $4,000 brush made of titanium. We can all agree that’s a bit extreme. The average cost of powered toothbrushes is anywhere from $15 to $150, while the average cost of manual brushes is around $6.
Because their bristles are typically shorter, electric brush heads tend to wear out faster and need to be replaced more often than manual brush heads. That adds up. And remember - changing your toothbrush is a critical piece of keeping your mouth healthy. Those bristles are working hard every single day. When they weaken, they don’t clean as effectively, and bacteria builds up in the bristles. Bacteria can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Think of swapping out for fresh bristles as a nice clean treat for your mouth and your breath.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, what if you want the manual toothbrush but also want to change the brush head out regularly? Luckily, RADIUS has a solution for that with replacement head functionality on manual brushes.
Quick recap so far: Huge difference in cost. Not a huge difference in the toothbrush’s ability to keep your teeth sparkly clean.
YOU PAY INDIRECT COSTS, TOO
Let’s talk about that other kind of cost- the cost of putting plastics and batteries into our landfills and polluting our air. Does it really make a difference if you choose standard plastic brushes over eco-friendly options? It actually does.
When you consider people in the U.S. throw away more than 1 billion toothbrushes a year, then the biodegradable rate and the sustainability of those brushes matter. By using a replacement head like on a RADIUS toothbrush, 90 out of every 100 toothbrushes escape the fate of the landfills. You keep the sustainable handle, swap in the fresh replacement head, and save the landfills, just like that.
Bamboo, boar-bristles, and alternative plastics have their advantages for the environment, but aren’t necessarily checking all the boxes. Bamboo isn’t exactly sustainable or quickly compostable. The plastics used in many toothbrush handles and bristles can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. That’s a lot of plastic toothbrushes left as trash for generations to come.
Imagine how just changing something as everyday as our toothbrush can help make our planet better for our kids and their kids.
The air we breathe is impacted, too. Manufacturing of the plastics used in making toothbrushes, like polypropylene, produce greenhouse gasses. Those gasses are 310 times more damaging to our air quality than carbon emissions.
RADIUS brushes take a different approach - a breath of fresh air! With bioplastics and repurposed materials, less waste is created, and the waste that is created is as compostable and biodegradable as possible.
Even the bristles on a RADIUS brush are thoughtfully designed. The vegetable-based soft nylon bristles have about 300% more bristles than an average toothbrush. This means they can last even longer before they wear out and are thrown out less often.
Some types of electric toothbrushes use batteries. When you consider that those battery-operated brushes aren’t making a big impact inside your mouth, you have to wonder if it’s worth the impact they are making outside, in the world. No batteries from electric toothbrushes = less battery acid leaking in our landfills and into wildlife regions.
One last tidbit regarding toothbrush types. When it comes to traveling, you can’t beat the size and function of a manual toothbrush. No batteries. No chargers. No plugs to worry about. Just pack it and go. It’s icing on the cake when you have a great travel case or collapsible toothbrush.
At the end of the day (and let’s be real, at the beginning of the day), it’s more about how you use the toothbrush than the toothbrush itself. A design-led, responsible toothbrush keeps your wallet happy, your teeth happy, and the planet happy. Win win.
RADIUS believes that everyday actions matter. We can positively impact change, and we work on making products that make a difference to the greater good. We hope you agree that our focus on nature IS worth it.