Radius Scores with Source Toothbrush and Natural Floss

The Radius Source has a contoured handle that fits and a replaceable brush head. Photo: Julia Wasson

How many times a day do you brush your teeth? If you follow the advice of WebMD, you’ll brush twice a day – morning and night — and you’ll floss once a day.

Radius Source toothbrush handles are made with (l to r) recycled US Treasury bills, wood, or flax. Photo: Courtesy Radius

In a given year, you’re brushing at least 730 times. But when you count the strokes of the toothbrush in your mouth, you’re talking about a number in the thousands. Doesn’t it just make sense that you’d use high-quality tools for something you do so often to protect your oral health?

For years I’ve used whatever toothbrush my dentist gave me at my semi-annual checkups and with replacements from my local drugstore in between visits. They’re fine toothbrushes. Soft bristles. A relatively comfortable handle. Colorful, and sometime even fancy, but certainly serviceable. And until recently, I thought of all toothbrushes as disposable.

When I received a free sample of the Radius Source toothbrush, I got a whole new experience with dental hygiene. Once out of the package, its unique, molded shape fit my right hand perfectly.

But what if you’re a lefty? No worries. The brush head is removable and can easily be turned around so that the handle fits your left hand. Cool! Someone’s thinking about the 8–15% of the population who are left-handed. My old toothbrushes are supposed to work just as well in either hand — and they do — but the fit isn’t nearly as good as the Radius Source.

Replaceable Brush Head

There’s another advantage to being able to change the brush head, too. You can easily replace it when it wears out. If your dentist is like mine, he or she will likely suggest that you replace your toothbrush every three months. Others suggest replacing them more often, especially if you’ve had a cold or a cold sore or have dropped your toothbrush on the floor.

My Radius Source toothbrush isn't as flashy as the one my dentist gave me, but it's got many more bristles and is a lot more comfy in my hand. Photo: Julia Wasson

The Radius Source brush head is made from “surgical-grade” plastic and accounts for only 7% of the entire volume of plastic. I’m not sure why “surgical-grade” plastic is important, but I do know that the toothbrushes are free of Bisphenol A (BPA), so that’s very good.

The heads come with your choice of soft or medium bristles. My toothbrush has soft bristles, which is what my dentist recommended, and I find it scrubs my teeth quite well.

The only thing I’ve not been terribly pleased with is that I’ve lost four bristles over the course of a month of using the toothbrush. But there are way more than twice as many bristles in my Radius Source toothbrush as in the ones my dentist gives me, so what’s a lost bristle here or there?

The shape of the brush head is wide, tapering to a point at the top. I like this because it covers more of each tooth at a time, requiring fewer strokes. (Those of you who are more patient than I can use the same number of strokes and just clean your teeth more thoroughly.) And, the tapered end at the top is efficient at getting to the very back of my mouth.

A Handle that Fits Your Hand

So let’s get back to the other 93% of the toothbrush — the handle.  Forty-seven percent (47%) of each handle is made from renewable resources: recycled U.S. Treasury bills (you could have bits of a million dollars in your hand!), recycled flax, or recycled wood. Polypropylene plastic is used both to bond the scrap materials and make them rigid.

My toothbrush handle has flecks of flax inside. Photo: Julia Wasson

My free toothbrush handle contains flax. It’s a very dark brown, almost black, with lighter brown flecks throughout. The toothbrush made from recycled dollars appears in product photos to be dark brown or black, with green flecks — but it might even be a deep green. Hard to tell in the photo. The recycled wood toothbrush is a light brown color.

No, you can’t get that electric green, fire engine red, or passionate purple handle you might be used to. But think about how often you have to dispose of those colorful toothbrushes that don’t have replaceable heads.

There’s a huge chunk of plastic in every toothbrush. Even if you do recycle your old-style toothbrushes (possible, if your recycler takes #5 plastic), wouldn’t it be so much better (for the planet and your wallet) if you could just replace the worn-out head?

Another thing that’s missing on my toothbrush is all the bumpy, rubbery-feeling material used to help me grip it more tightly. But with the Radius Source, that’s not necessary, because the handle itself fits so well. I’d never thought very much about the handle of my toothbrush. But now that I’ve used the Radius Source, I’m definitely in favor of the wide, tapered shape.

As Joe said, when I asked him to hold my toothbrush in his hand, “It fits. The contour feels right.” So, it fits both a man’s and a woman’s hand. And, because the handle is much wider than any other toothbrush I’ve ever tried, I suspect it would also fit nicely into a much larger hand.

How Much?

Replacing the brush head is simple, easy, and inexpensive. Photo: Julia Wasson

There is a disadvantage you should be aware of: The Source won’t fit a standard, bathroom toothbrush holder. But then, my fancier toothbrushes from the dentist don’t fit it either. You can, however, purchase a Source toothbrush travel case from Radius for only $1.99. It’s intended for traveling, but you can easily protect your toothbrush in it at home, too. Or do as we do, and stand your toothbrushes brush-end-up in an attractive glass or other container.

So what about price? You could buy one toothbrush similar to the one my dentist gave me for $4.49 at Walgreens. Or you could buy one Radius Source toothbrush with an extra brush head for $6.95. When your Radius Source wears out, you can buy two replacement heads for $5.49. Or, when your regular-style toothbrush wears out, you can recycle the whole thing and start all over.

Don’t like the handle style of the Source version? Radius sells other unique styles, and has for 25 years.

Don’t Forget to Floss

You’ll also find floss at the Radius website. I received a container of the Natural Cranberry Floss. It tastes slightly tart (probably not a favorite of small kids) and has a red coloring that goes away as you use the floss. (It temporarily leaked off on my fingers when I tried to use it.)

Radius also makes floss, including both the unwaxed cranberry variety and a waxed variety. Photo: Courtesy Radius

Because my teeth are set very close together, I wasn’t able to comfortably use the floss. But Joe’s teeth have a bit more space between them. He has no problem with unwaxed floss and found it to work very well: “It’s almost like flossing with a piece of hair, it’s so thin.”

Radius sells a Natural Silk Floss, which is “spun in natural beeswax to help sliding through tight spaces.” That’s what I need, though I haven’t yet tried it.

Both floss styles retail for $2.99 for one container, $8.07 for a three-pack, or $14.35 for a six-pack — a considerable savings per container. Each floss container holds 50 meters of floss.

I almost didn’t write about the floss, because our policy is to only report on items we feel positive about, and I wasn’t able to use the Natural Cranberry Floss. But I can’t use any unwaxed floss, so that would have been a poor comparison. So, I got Joe’s opinion and, as you already read, he was positive about the floss. That’s good enough for me.

Update 6/15/10

An article posted by Dr. Mercola today links poor oral hygiene with heart disease. All the more reason to take good care of your teeth and gums!

The Small Print

Blue Planet Green Living received a free sample of the products described in this post. No other compensation or incentive was provided.

Blue Planet Green Living’s review policy is to only review those products we feel merit overall positive comments. If we do not like a product, we do not review it. We are not influenced by complimentary products and provide our honest opinions. For more information, please visit the Policies tab on the top navigation bar.

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Julia Wasson

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