Earth Day – creating a more sustainable way to practise dentistry
On Earth Day, Laura Durrant discusses the sustainability of dentistry and how we could all make changes to become more green.
Every toothbrush I have ever owned is still on the planet. That is a concept which doesn’t sit right with me.
Living by the sea, I have experienced the endless toothbrushes and flossettes that wash up every day. This excels my interest in sustainable dental care.
Clinicians and patients have a growing awareness of how our actions, both in the surgery and at home, have a vast impact on the planet.
Oral hygiene instruction should be thoroughly considered to balance between sustainability and the prevention of disease.
Dental care practitioners should educate patients and increase awareness surrounding sustainable products.
Large companies, such as Tepe, Colgate and Pikster, have taken impressive steps to create biodegradable or recyclable products, improving both packaging and dental aids, for steps towards more eco-friendly dentistry.
The majority of dental treatments have adverse effects on climate change. But we could combat particular areas in the future.
Prevention is a key factor to facilitate reducing waste. Fewer appointments would reduce single-use product consumption.
Having worked in many practices, I have experienced first-hand the methods used to reduce plastic waste while adhering to HTM-01-05 guidelines and maintaining good workflow. This has been implemented through the use of autoclavable items, that would usually be single-use, such as metal cups and suction tips.
There is a major misconception that needs addressing. This is that sustainable dentistry is more costly for the practice. However, in the long run, there are immense savings, both in monetary terms and for the planet.
Dentistry has experienced considerable sustainable changes. From the introduction of toothpaste tablets in glass jars, to reusable products in and out the surgery.
This is leading the way to a better future; however, I believe there is more room for further education, implementation and growth.
What is Earth Day?
Growing from the first Earth Day in 1970, Earthday.org is one of the world’s largest recruiters to the environmental movement. It works with more than 75,000 partners in over 192 countries to drive positive action for our planet.
It is a movement that hopes to encourage change to help combat the climate crisis and create a zero-carbon future.
‘Every Earth Day can drive a year of energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to create a new plan of action for our planet,’ Earthday.org says.