I recently had the opportunity to try a couple of toothbrushes from Radius, a company that manufactures a number of brushes with right and left hand orientation. I wondered, why bother with handedness in a toothbrush? Aren't the traditional straight brushes just fine? Maybe not. Radius brushes were designed to provide more effective cleaning by improving the brushing angle while reducing pressure on the teeth and gums and creating a comfortable grip. I tried two models, the Original and the Source. The Original has a wide handle with a nice indentation for the thumb. It fit comfortably in the palm of my hand. The bristles were soft and definitely gave full coverage to my gums. However, the large head was a bit too much for my small jaw. Reaching my back molars is a tight squeeze, and I wasn't sure I was getting there. This brush would be fine for someone who normally uses a full-sized adult toothbrush, but probably not for those who use small or children's sizes. The Source's smaller head suited me better. The handle is slimmer and more rounded, making it easier to manipulate when working on the more difficult spots. On both brushes, the bristles were soft and flexible, leaving the gums stimulated but not irritated.
The Source's replaceable heads can be inserted for either left or right orientation. Replaceable heads on a reusable handle mean reduced consumption of resources and less waste. I was really impressed by Radius's sensible approach to its environmental impact. Their website explains exactly what materials are used in the toothbrushes and packaging. They use recycled or recyclable materials, and some brushes are made from cellulose (made from renewable trees). Where they use nylon or oil-based products, they disclose that, too. Overall, the impression I got from the products, literature and website was very positive.
Of course, you probably won't find these brushes at the corner drug store. They don't fit into that little rack with the other brushes. But national chains like Whole Foods and the Vitamin Shoppe carry them. There's a list of stores on Radius's website, or they can be ordered online at http://www.radiustoothbrush.com.