Reduce your waste with a toothbrush? Yes.

The Terradent toothbrush stands out from the pack of dental hygiene products out there not because of the complicated design of its head and the multitude of angled bristles, but due to the simplicity and thinking behind its design.

In two words, it has replaceable heads. When you need to change the brush, you don’t change the whole thing. You snap in a new head, and you keep the same handle. It’s beautifully simple and yes, it’s hygienic.

After you remove the old head, if you feel it’s needed, you can scrub the handle’s tip with a little soap and a brush, or you can pour some little hydrogen peroxide on it, to make sure it’s squeaky clean before you attach the new head, but don’t get hung up on it. As long as you replace the heads regularly, the toothbrush will be safe to use for years and years.

My wife and I have been using Terradent toothbrushes for about 4 years, and we love them. We only buy replacement heads, which is cheaper than getting the whole toothbrush and means we’re generating less waste. All that fancy rubber and injection-molded handles in today’s toothbrushes means you’re throwing away a whole bunch of plastic, every time you get rid of one. That’s a shame, particularly when the Terradent toothbrush proves it’s so easy to do the smarter thing.

I put together a short video demo of the head replacement on one of our toothbrushes, to show you how easy and simple it is. You can watch it on YouTube or above. I hope you’re going to think about buying one of them the next time you go shopping for your bathroom. They’re available at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or directly from the company’s website.

Image used courtesy of Eco-Dent.


68 thoughts on “Reduce your waste with a toothbrush? Yes.

  1. I have never noticed them in the store before, but it certainly is a great idea. I just hope the base is not too wide to fit into my toothbrush holder, I hate when that happens! Thanks for the information.

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  2. Great! I used those when I lived in Gemany. Maybe I should consider trying someone to buy them for me in the US and bring me the heads regularly. It’s astonishing that those things never seem to come to Mexico. 😦

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  3. See, now this is the type of stuff that I wish the government would interject on and make mandatory. I don’t mean that in a “only buy this brand of toothbrushes way” but in a “the style of toothbrushes must be in this fashion”. It’s so simple, hardly anyone would really notice all that much of a difference in its functionality, AND it’s so much less wasteful. In an age where we are constantly hurting our planet (BP oil spill anyone), why don’t we try and do something that will actually make it better.

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  4. Good to hear about the new soft heads. I think your dentist will tell you that hard bristles are bad for your teeth – they can actually scrape off the enamel. Rachelle will be proud of you!

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  5. Dear Raoul,

    This is an ingenious and simple innovation, which will help reduction of household waste. However, I do not think these are marketed in my country, India. I have been looking for some alternatives. If I do come across such products that make life simple and minimize carbon footprints, I will surely let you know? Meanwhile, I am interested to know if you support or have tried household waste management strategies like segregation, recycling, and vermicomposting. Then, I can send you some useful information based on my own studies as to how you can set up small systems of waste management at home and in your locality.

    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Samyuktha PC, India.

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    1. Thanks Samy! We already recycle and segregate our waste, and I’ve even set up a composter in our garden, so we’re set. But we’re glad to see that other people, all over the world, are doing it! And if you find other products like this, sure, let me know, I may write about them on my site.

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  6. this is awesome idea to reduce the waste and control pollution caused by plastic.but it will
    take time to practice this process in india but i have starting usin it

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  7. Quite a neat idea. I must appreciate your thought and that you care for our mother earth. We need more people like you. Yes waste disposle is a big problem around the world. It reminds me of the “Just In Time” manufacturing strategy used by the Japanese after WW2. Since they lacked resources, they used only the minimum. There was no inventory and no wastage. We usually have to maitain an inventory in our daily life, but if we can apply the no wastage technique then maybe there would be a further reduction in houshold waste.

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  8. Woa that is really cool! I think I am going to try that when my current toothbrush gets too old. Do the heads come in different colors?

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  9. Certainly a good way to cut down waste and money.

    I do the same with my shaving blade. I have been using it for over 2 years now.

    I hope it comes to India soon(or has it already come here). I will surely use it if I happen to see such thing. India will be a good market as a lot of people here look forward to saving money.

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  10. It is a good way to cut down on waste, but in my opinion, it even more environmentally friendly to use a miswak/siwak since it’s biodegradable and doesn’t use toothpaste (no more toothpaste taste in your mouth!).

    It’s works better too.

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    1. First time I ever heard of a miswak, Laboose, thanks! Can I buy those things somewhere to try them out? I don’t happen to have a persica tree in my backyard… 🙂

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      1. I’m actually not sure where you could get them if you’re not in Saudi Arabia (don’t live there, but i know that the are popular there and in surrounding regions).

        An ebay search has some results… perhaps you could start there?

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  11. We also discussed a similar idea some time ago as we were considering different “consumables” that become landfill and could be better designed to minimize the impact to the environment. Knowing the life span is so short for the tooth brush head, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to make this out of a biodegradable material.

    If the head can be made from an eco-friendly material it would be even better. We even considered making the bristles out of a material that would degrade with use such that when the bristles change color or reach a certain wear point (from green to white or some other change), we would know when the head should be replaced.

    We also considered making the handle out of a more robust material such as a well designed stainless steel handle with all of the wonderful “flex” points that make for a great toothbrush with reach. Handles could be engraved with names or decorated with ornamentation that makes it not only functional but worthy of leaving on display.

    I’ll look forward to seeing this on the shelf somewhere soon! Great idea.

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    1. Indeed. We need to get back to well-made, sturdy, serviceable products that are made to last a lifetime, where only the parts that wear out are disposable.

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    2. I really like the idea of making higher-end handles. If these toothbrushes last as long as is claimed (and I’m totally going to buy one and find out 😉 ), then it makes sense that the handle be pretty high-quality.

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  12. Ah! I did not even know such things exsisted! But I have to say- what a nifty idea! And anything and everything nowadays which is good for the encironment (reducing waste) as well economical- I will certanily give it a try!

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  13. That’s pretty cool. I had the same idea not long ago and switched to the Recycline (now called “Preserve”) recycled toothbrushes. The handles are 100% recycled plastic made from old yogurt cups, and they have new nylon bristles. When you’re done with them, you just mail them back. I’ve actually got a subscription to their toothbrushes now so I never forget to buy a new one when it’s time.

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  14. Awesome idea.
    It’s true about the amount of plastic on regular toothbrushes….
    nobody ever thinks about that

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  15. So sensible. Keeping it simple.
    Also, I buy replacement brushes for the toilet brush. No kidding!
    Search Google for toilet brush head replacement. Bed Bath & Beyond sell them for $2.99.

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    1. That’s cool! Didn’t know you could do the same thing with toilet brushes! The thing to do then is to make sure not to confuse the toilet brush heads with the toothbrush heads… 😉

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  16. Amazing no one thought of this for a toothbrush before. I was going to post on my own WordPress blog and got so intrigued with yours (which came up when I signed in) that I was diverted!

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  17. I’ve never seen these but it’s a great idea and I’ll be watching for them now.

    I usually hang onto old toothbrushes for a while. They come in handy for cleaning small things or small places — shower grout, corners, combs, jewelry.

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  18. Excellent idea. I will buy one before going back to school in the Fall! Thank you for sharing!

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  19. Hi Raoul,
    Yes, my family and I found out about toothbrushes with replaceable tops from a WholeFoods / Capers Market in Canada. Great idea. Once extra note is that we rarely throw away tooth brushes until they are intensively used for work like cleaning difficult parts of bikes, areas around windows, hard to get at spots on tiles, sometimes cleaning hiking boots etc. Do you have any other ideas to share with your audience that are eco-friendly?
    Cheers,
    David

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  20. Thanks for the great idea! I’m always saving my old toothbrushes for ‘something’ (i sterilize them in the dishwasher, first) and so far have yet to use one for anything. I’ll definitely look for these Terradent brushes. Nice blog.

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    1. You’re welcome, Kathy! Old toothbrushes are great for a lot of things around the house, like cleaning silver cutlery, scrubbing bronze chandeliers or door knobs, getting into all sorts of hard-to-reach places, scrubbing your pets’ paws, particularly underneath the claws, etc.

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  21. Great information!I actually saw them awhile ago but have never given them any tries yet! Really helpful in saving money:) Thanks again for sharing:)

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  22. Thanks for the tip! Was just thinking about doing some research on an eco friendly toothbrush. Now I don’t have to! ~Lila Frazier

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  23. This really is a great idea. Since you only throw one toothbrush away at time you don’t realize how quickly they can add up! I’ll be on the look out for these.

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  24. I’ve never heard of these type of toothbrushes either, but they do sound great. I might have to switch over to these. Thank you for sharing.

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  25. That’s great! Always seems silly to throw away something so “functional.”

    That’s probably why I keep using the same toothbrush for like 15 years 🙂

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  26. Mr. Raoul, I must appreciate your thought about reducing waste. Really we all must now think about reducing the waste and saving the earth.

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  27. Interesting! I might try using them instead of regular toothbrushes… thanks for sharing, it’s nice to find things out on blogs like this. 😀

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  28. Dude, i can see how enthusiastic you are about your tooth brush. I think you should demand some advertising charges though. Because that one hell of a mention.

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  29. Hmm…always weird seeing my name spelled like that…lol Looks like the French version. I am sure it would be easier for people to say if I spelled it like that. 🙂 Anyway, I like this idea of replacement heads for the toothbrush. I have honestly never seen or heard of these before. Wondering if they come with different sizes and, as Silje said, different bristles since I prefer the medium to soft. Thanks for the post!

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  30. How hard is the bristels? Is it like normal toothbrushes that they sell different hardnesses of the bristels? personally I hate soft toothbrushes you see and from the pictures it looked very soft. Some people might like that but i prefer a brush that I can fell when it brushes you know…

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    1. I’d say they’re medium. Not too hard, and not too soft. Works for me. I see the company’s now begun to offer soft and medium heads, so that’s good. Variety is good. 🙂

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  31. This is an awesome idea! That cuts down on waste considerably and there isn’t a thing we can use those old toothbrushes for. In the long run, they’re gonna end up garbage! I have never heard of these before thank you for sharing. 🙂

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        1. Zeeshan, I’m not the guy to ask. Follow the link to the company’s website (it’s in the article) and order the brush from them, they should be happy to get a big order.

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