Plastics suck – reducing plastic in dentistry

reducing plasticWe need to find new ways to adapt, substitute and eliminate the huge amount of plastic we use, says Charlotte Wake.

Upon arriving home after a long day in this great profession of ours, I found my bin collection calendar for Christmas on the mat. It had tips for reducing plastic on the front cover. Number one was ‘say no to disposable straws and cutlery’. This got me thinking.
Early in my career, I treated a patient who suffered with a hand tremor. It became obvious that having to rinse at the end of the appointment was difficult. Since then, I have always had plastic straws in the surgery, for times like these.
Plastic pollution is a hot topic. Plenty of us have seen pictures of mountainous plastic waste on social media or watched the television reports. It is scary, and we need to find new ways to adapt, substitute and eliminate the huge amount of plastic we all use.

Promoting plastic

Newly inspired, and over a well-earned cuppa, I started making a mental list of plastics that are used in my dental surgery. The list started with headrest covers, protectors, Dappens pots and continued to include the plastic bag we offer to carry leaflets or toothbrushes. Never mind the array of plastics involved with oral hygiene products; the list seems endless.
The trouble is, we spend all day promoting plastic products, avidly trying to convince people to look after their oral health with personalised advice and a handful of plastic products!
I personally like Tepe interdental brushes, Glide Floss Picks, Dr Barman’s brush… I could go on. We have plastic denture brushes, plastic toothbrush grip…

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