Over the past century or more, it has become very clear that the impact humans make on our environment has the potential to lead to devastating consequences for everyone. People everywhere have begun to realize this, and many are taking whatever steps they can to produce a smaller footprint they leave on the planet. Dental care may not be an obvious choice of where to start, but the fact of the matter is that dental products are leaving an increasingly large impact on the health of our planet. Dental technology continues to provide alternatives in areas such as imaging, where physical x-ray films have been eliminated in favor of digital renderings. We’re here to help you learn what you can do at home.
Do Dental Products Really Impact The Environment That Much?
With the sheer amount of plastic products that are used in dental products, from toothpaste containers and floss rolls to the material our toothbrushes are made out of, it should come as no surprise that they make a profound impact on the health of our planet. Years ago the beaches of Hawaii were completely free of discarded toothbrushes. Since the introduction of the plastic toothbrush in the 1930s, the number of toothbrushes that appear as detritus on the beach has risen to nearly a hundred every time a beach clean-up crew goes through.
This introduction of plastic toothbrushes led to the elimination of most dental products that were made of natural products like wood and animal fiber bristles. This introduction was only the beginning; as more and more products continue to appear on the dental aisle that are made of plastic, we’ll continue to see more of them on our beaches, waterways, and landfills.
How Do I Make Sustainable Choices In My Tooth Brush?
With so many dental products containing toothbrushes and natural material toothbrushes being difficult to find, it can be tricky to find sustainable choices. Also, choices that may seem sustainable on the surface may, in fact, be worse for the environment than the plastic alternative. Two examples of products that seem like alternative options are listed below:
• Bamboo Handles – On the surface, these seem like an excellent alternative to plastic toothbrushes. The handles are made from farmed bamboo, and the bristles tend to be made of natural materials as well. Unfortunately, the amount of water and arable land required to make these and dispose of them are significant.
• Electric Toothbrushes – These are a great solution for oral health and have been shown to produce great results. Unfortunately, the disposable plastic head actually generates more dental waste than it prevents, and the batteries in old units need to be disposed of carefully. Not a great alternative.
Research into the most sustainable form of the toothbrush has produced somewhat surprising results. The lamented plastic toothbrush is far superior to any natural option out on the market today. This surprising statement comes with some qualifiers, however. In order to be a sustainable option, the plastic toothbrush must be recycled conscientiously.
Looking to make more changes in your dental hygiene routine that will promote oral health while being environmentally responsible? You can come into McCartney Dental in North Port, FL, to get advice from Dr. Jonathan McCartney today! We’re always available for our patients, current, and future.