Dentists are making moves to drive dentistry towards more eco-friendly practices to cut back on the profession’s carbon footprint.
Researchers at the University of Sheffield’s School of Clinical Dentistry have put together a report on sustainability for the FDI World Dental Federation.
Called the ‘Consensus Statement on Environmentally Sustainable Oral Healthcare’, the document aims to shift dentistry towards eco-friendly policies.
Oral healthcare, it states, contributes towards air pollution through:
- Carbon dioxide associated with transport and travel
- Waste incineration
- Lack of recyclable packaging
- High water consumption
- Greenhouse gas impact of anaesthetic gases.
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Eco-friendly oral hygiene
The first document of its kind, it highlights the drivers that fuel behaviours within the profession and how these can be positively changed.
It also emphasises the importance of prevention and minimising ‘avoidable’ oral healthcare. This includes the promotion of good oral hygiene practices, low-sugar diets as well as the avoidance of tobacco.
Colgate, GSK, Procter and Gamble, Tepe and Dentsply Sirona all support the project.
‘Prevention is better than cure and it is the most impactful and practical way of reducing the need for clinical interventions and associated environmental impacts,’ said Professor Nicolas Martin, clinical professor in restorative dentistry, University of Sheffield.
‘When treatment is required, oral healthcare should focus on the provision of durable fillings. For example high-quality products and materials that will last longer and/or require fewer replacements.’
Professor Ihsane Ben Yahya, FDI president added: ‘It will come as a surprise to many people that the healthcare sector is responsible for around 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, of which oral healthcare is an important contributor.
‘The dental industry has a collective responsibility to reduce its environmental impact. The Consensus Statement is the first major step to achieving that.’
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