I didn’t really take brushing my teeth seriously until my first trip to the dentist as an adult. As it turns out, getting a professional to fix your chompers is actually quite expensive when you’re the one paying for it. The Tooth Fairy inexplicably did a vanishing act, and has since refused to provide any financial support to my adult teeth.
These days, I’m a born-again dental hygiene devotee, so I was excited to come across Tinkle, a new Aussie sustainable toothbrush subscription service.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s the winter of Covid-19, and between streaming, produce boxes and online courses you’re oversubscribed to subscription services. But getting your toothbrushes delivered – especially from Tinkle – is far less ridiculous than it sounds. (Okay, the name is kind of funny).
Thirty million toothbrushes end up in landfill in Australia each year. Tinkle’s brush handles, which are made with sustainably sourced bamboo, combat that by being fully biodegradable. (The bristles are nylon and can be recycled but must be picked off before disposal.) Plus, Tinkle donates one dollar from each sale to its own grants initiative that funds groups and individuals dedicated to climate action.
The only problem is that bamboo doesn’t respond well to being damp – it gets a bit gross (well, it biodegrades). Unfortunately for bamboo though, tooth brushing is an inherently damp activity. Tinkle’s solution is simple but clever: all of its brushes have flat bases, and are shaped to be able to stand on their own.
“We’d been slowly taking steps as a family to live more sustainably,” says Tasmanian-based Tinkle co-founder Kate Cashman. “One night over dinner we were talking about all the plastic items we use every day that could be replaced with an eco-friendly alternative. As we worked through the list, Spencer – our eldest – said he wished some of the plastic free alternatives could be made better, like our toothbrushes ‘that always get gunky’.”
Seven-year-old Spencer’s comment, pointing out the design flaw that made bamboo toothbrushes go mouldy, spurred on Kate and her husband Ben to create Tinkle’s flat-based toothbrush.
The subscription costs $7 for one brush (adult or child-sized), and you can choose how frequently you get topped up (the range is between one and four months). Tinkle says two months is the sweet spot for keeping brushes at peak performance. Each brush comes with a different-coloured base to avoid any accidental switcheroo scenario. One-off purchases are also available for $7 (or $3.50 for a child’s brush) if you’re just looking to test drive.
You can also bundle with fluoride or fluoride-free toothpaste tablets in your order. They’re an increasingly popular alternative to plastic toothpaste tubes (and you’ll never have to do the pinch-squeeze of the end of the tube ever again). They’re waste-free and made with certified organic ingredients. You simply chew the tablet, wet your toothbrush and go about brushing like normal.
Tinkle delivers Australia-wide.