How one practice is using these toothbrushes to reduce plastic waste

April 27, 2020

The prepasted Bamboo Toothbrush from OraBrite can replace disposable plastic brushes given to patients.

About a year ago, orthodontist Dr. Claire Ferrari came across the Bamboo Prepasted Toothbrushes from OraBrite at a dental show. As an environmentally conscious clinician, she knew she had to have them for her practice, Ferrari Orthodontics, located in Kensington, Calif.

Previously, she gave patients traditional disposable toothbrushes so they could brush before their appointment. Most patients don’t carry toothbrushes with them, so she keeps the disposable options in the brushing area for them to use once they arrive. Dr. Ferrari didn’t like the waste the plastic brushes created, which is why she decided to make the switch to the OraBrite brushes, which feature a 100 percent natural and decomposable bamboo handle.

“I’ve built a fairly green office and I just can’t stand the plastic waste that goes with using disposable toothbrushes,” Dr. Ferrari says. “With the bamboo brushes, the bulk of the toothbrush material is biodegradable. And even though they’re disposable, a lot of patients take them with them. It seems like this option creates the least amount of plastic waste.”

The benefits

These natural toothbrushes have 32 tufts of soft bristles, feature a compostable and biodegradable bamboo handle, and come in eco-friendly paper packaging. The toothbrushes are available in one prepasted mint flavored style and five traditional styles and are ready for use right out of the package. The nylon-6 bristles are recyclable.

There is enough toothpaste on the brushes for one to two brushing sessions, but they have life beyond that. Patients can take them home-which Dr. Ferrari encourages-and reuse them with traditional toothpaste as well.

Why patients like them

Ann Wasserman, a registered dental assistant at Ferrari Orthodontics, gets a lot of feedback from patients about the bamboo brushes. Patients are happy to see an alternative to the plastic disposable toothbrushes they’ve always used, she says. They love the fact the brushes are biodegradable and that they can use them more than once, which isn’t usually an option with traditional disposable brushes.

“They think it’s great,” Wasserman says. “Everybody takes the toothbrushes home with them; they don’t throw them away. I tell them to bring the brushes camping with them or when they go on a trip.”

Wasserman is also impressed by the toothbrush’s quality. The bristles don’t fall off like she’s experienced with traditional disposable brushes. They can even hold up to clean impression trays and are the perfect size to clean clear aligner trays.

Why switch to bamboo

Dr. Ferrari and her team are always looking for environmentally friendly products to incorporate into the practice, and these toothbrushes fit in perfectly with that goal. They offer a great alternative to traditional plastic options. She can feel good about offering the prepasted brushes, knowing her practice is producing less plastic waste-which is something her team members and her patients appreciate.

“If you need to supply patients with a way to brush their teeth before their appointment, this is the way to do it,” Dr. Ferrari says. “This is a good, quality product that is taking the planet into account. We are basically treating the planet like a toilet with the amount of plastic we put into the waste stream. If we can do something to slow the amount of plastic going into the environment, I think that’s beneficial.” 

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