Bogobrush: The First Toothbrush with a Social Mission

Author: Dental Geek
11.26.12 / 3:59 pm

Bogobrush, the completely biodegradable, buy-one-give-one toothbrush, is the product of brother-sister duo, John and Heather McDougall. As children of a dentist, John’s path as an award-winning automotive designer and Heather’s as an honors law school graduate seemed far from following the family footsteps. But, two years ago, when the siblings joined together to help the world become a more balanced place, they decided to re-imagine a toothbrush.

Sculpted of bamboo, and its biodegradable nylon bristles, Bogobrush fits in every hand and will take care of people’s mouths for months, and when it’s finished, it will return safely to the earth.

Bogobrush has a social mission, too: with over 80 million Americans lacking access to adequate oral health care, Bogobrush is teaming up with oral health organizations across the country, so that with each Bogobrush purchased, another one can be given to a person who needs it most.

As a web-based company, Bogobrush, is also setting out to change the way people buy toothbrushes. Right now, customers can simply go to and pre-order a limited edition, single Bogobrush or one year of Bogobrushes to receive a new Bogobrush at their doorsteps every three months. This delivery model means customers could never use an expired toothbrush or go to the store for a new one again.

The Dental Geek had the opportunity to chat with John (Chief Creative Officer) and Heather (Chief Executive Officer) McDougall about the development of the Bogobrush.

The Dental Geek: Other than being the children of a dentist, what has inspired you to enter the dental industry?

John & Heather McDougall: After finishing design school (John) and law school (Heather) we knew we wanted to use our talents to bring more environmental and social awareness into people’s daily routines.  We had numerous ideas of where to start, but we kept coming back to the idea of re-imagining the toothbrush. We saw how over 450 million toothbrushes were littering US landfills each year, and set out to create a toothbrush that was completely biodegradable. We also saw that 80 million Americans lacked access to adequate oral care, and knew we wanted to do what we could to help.

The toothbrush is a simple product that we use every morning and every night, and we thought that if we could get people to be environmentally and socially conscious every time they brushed their teeth, it could be the start of something even bigger.

Dental Geek: What makes Bogobrush different from other toothbrushes?

John & Heather McDougall: Today’s toothbrushes are over-styled pieces of plastic that are going to be around for thousands of years after we throw them away. Bogobrush’s biodegradable design means that you can literally bury it in your backyard, and it will return safely to earth without the next generation having to worry. From a functional perspective, Today’s brushes are loaded with rubber grips, and shaped in a way that is really only comfortable to hold in one or two positions. The way we brush our teeth however requires constant movement of the brush in our hand, so with Bogobrush we got rid of all the useless grips and gimmicks, and were left with a pure form that will fit in any hand, and comfortably reach any part of the mouth.

Dental Geek: Do you envision the Bogobrush as a toothbrush that could be provided in bulk to dental practices for patient visits?

John & Heather McDougall: Absolutely, we offer special bulk pricing specifically for Dentists. If you are a dentist interested in pre-ordering Bogobrushes for your practice, please contact us: We will love to talk with you!

Dental Geek: Do you plan on exhibiting the Bogobrush at any upcoming dental conventions?

John & Heather McDougall: We can’t wait to showcase Bogobrush at upcoming dental conventions. It is really important to us that we work closely with dental professionals as we grow Bogobrush. 

Our family is very involved in the ADA, and growing up, our parents brought us to quite a few state and national dental conventions. Hopefully next time we are there, we will be proudly showing Bogobrush.

Dental Geek: Why did you develop a toothbrush with a social mission?

John & Heather McDougall: There are over 80 million people in the USA alone who lack basic access to oral care. Without a healthy mouth, there are dramatic consequences in nutrition and overall well-being.    Supplying toothbrushes to those in need is just one small step towards addressing the issue, and we believe that if  we can get people to truly care about the social mission of their toothbrush, it could be the start of something even bigger.

Dental Geek: Do you have plans to develop other oral healthcare products in the future?

John & Heather McDougall: Yes. We can’t go into too much detail about future products, but we are really excited about some projects that are already under development.


Dental Geek

Dental Geek

6 responses to “Bogobrush: The First Toothbrush with a Social Mission”

  1. Seems like a great idea to use bamboo (it always has cool feel). I hope these work well with braces, or perhaps they’ll make a narrow one for working around braces.

  2. Biodegradable toothbrush – excellent

    Each step adds up to healthier planet and healthier bodies.

    Technology in dentistry as a whole is advancing leaps and bounds.

  3. It really didn’t address whether the bristles were soft? ( very important in keeping your enamel) and the angle of the toothbrush makes a difference in brushing – hence the angles and contoured handles. ( what you called gimmicks) hopefully you consulted more than one dental professional .

  4. Hey all! Regarding the bristles, all brushes in the first shipment will be made with soft bristles. We know that some people have different preferences, but we also know it’s important to protect those pearly whites and their enamel, so soft bristles are definitely the best bet for our first shipment. We did lots of research with dental professionals, other toothbrushes, journals, and any resource to learn about the true needs of a toothbrush. We are excited for you to receive your brushes. Thanks for all the support and feedback!

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