Thus far in my quest to wrangle up last minute-ish, stocking-appropriate holiday gift ideas, I’ve featured energy-saving dryer balls modeled in the likeness of spiny nocturnal mammals and veggie-sprouting faux coinage. While today’s idea is no less practical (perhaps it's even more), it does decidedly emphasize social good over any kind of cute factor. Plus, it won’t ship until March so you don’t have to stress out about it arriving prior to the grand entrance of a heavyset hair farmer wearing a red felt get-up. A spool of floss and a simple IOU note to its recipient will suffice.
Meet Bogobrush, a beautiful tooth-cleaning instrument — “the first toothbrush that you’ll actually care about” — that sports a sleek, cylindrical handle made from bamboo and biodegradable nylon bristles. The whole shebang is designed to biodegrade unlike the 450 million-plus plastic toothbrushes that are landfilled at the end of their useful lifecycles.
Dubbed, most fittingly, as the “TOMS for the dental hygiene world," the St. Paul-based startup behind Bogobrush follows a “buy one give one” business model. For each unit sold, the company donates a Bogobrush to an individual in need via an array of nonprofit partners. So far, Bogobrush has established relationships with Sharing & Caring Hands and Apple Tree Dental, both in the Twin Cities, Covenant Community Care in Detroit, and Good Samaritan Health Center in Atlanta to distribute the toothbrushes. It’s expected that additional local and national partners will be announced by the end of the year.
In addition to giving the standard plastic toothbrush an attractive eco-makeover, the overall goal of the sibling-run company (the grown children of a dentist, natch) is “to change the epidemic in our country where over 80 million people in the US alone do not have adequate dental care, and globally, more people now own cell phones than toothbrushes” according to a press release issued by Bogobrush.
Sounds like a noble cause to me.
Right now, the good folks at Bogobrush have set a pre-order goal of 10, 000 units sold by Dec. 31. “Birthday Suit” Bogobrushes are sold a la carte at $10 a pop plus shipping and handling through the Bogobrush webstore. Or, you can order a year’s supply of Bogobrushes — a fresh toothbrush delivered to you (and an in-need recipient) every three months with free shipping. The cost for that is $40. The first Bogobrush to be delivered will be the unadorned “Birthday Suit” variety while following brushes will have dye-dipped white, blue, or yellow handles with matching bristles. Gift cards are also available and, as mentioned, the brushes themselves won’t ship until March.
Lots more high-design dental goodness over at the Bogobrush website and blog

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Bogobrush gives new meaning to oral care
A last minute holiday gift for socially conscious tooth-cleaners with an eye for ecological design, Bogobrush follows a "buy one give one" business model.