The Green Hygienist – your hygiene department could help drive a greener practice

The green hygienistLottie Manahan reveals how putting time and effort into hygiene can lead to a greener practice. 

The whole team has a responsibility to make small changes and adapt practice to reduce the carbon footprint. But often we see it as an expensive or difficult to know where to start process when the truth is we often have the fundamentals already in place.

The principle goal of good oral health is to prevent oral disease, one of the most prevalent diseases worldwide.

If we guide and recommend our patients a good oral hygiene routine, this will limit the number of visits needed – plus all the other materials required to treat. Improvements in oral health and wellbeing can be achieved through prevention, screening and monitoring of patients carefully.

I have put some top tips together, which can be added to your hygiene department to make oral health watertight.

High-quality dental care with a focus on prevention of oral diseases is at the core of how to ensure an environmentally sustainable practice, not to mention the important benefit of disease-free patients.

In my opinion my good colleagues are excellent at educating their patients. We do rely on the whole team to spread awareness on how important our care is within the practice.

It’s a magic power us hygienist and therapists have when graduating from dental school. I’m very proud to be part of this most fundamental role for our dental teams.


I disclose every patient religiously. For the visual patients, it’s the most effective way to highlight the plaque biofilm in the mouth.

After disclosing I will use oral hygiene equipment (Oral-B test-drive/floss/interdental brushes) to demonstrate how to remove the plaque between teeth and along the gum lines.

This way patients can see for themselves that hey can achieve this easily at home.

The intraoral camera

This is a fantastic tool for showing patients inflammation and clinical findings. It helps the patient to understand where they need to improve their oral hygiene at home.

Always show patients the health in the mouth before pointing out their flaws of the disease. This way they can feel relived it’s not all bad news.

My patients really appreciate my work when they see the before and afters on the screen in front of them. This encourages them to maintain my handwork at home.

Educating patients

The connection between prevention and a greener planet is super important. The sooner patients realise the added benefit to preventing disease, the more awareness is achieved.

Follow-up email

After hygiene visits – especially with new patients – I like to email their diagnosis and reinforce the homework I’ve discussed with them in the session.

Sometimes they forget parts, especially distracted or nervous clients. I will highlight areas they should spend more time on and list oral hygiene aids I recommended for them.

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