With the onset of rising climate change, environmental awareness has become the forefront of our concerns. The severe impact that we have on our planet has changed the face of it forever. For many environmentalists, working cohesively towards world-wide solutions that are sustainable for the planet is one of the best methods we have. Sustainability can apply to all aspects of our lives, including brushing our teeth. However, common oral hygiene products often produce millions of pounds of plastic waste each year, leaving it to gather in landfills and pollute our world. There are more sustainable options for reducing your impact.
The Dilemma of Plastic Waste and Oral Hygiene
With every toothbrush disposed, over 3 pounds of plastic is generated. The ADA reports various well-researched practices for helping people become more sustainable in their actions and has reported many of the vast impacts of plastic waste from dental manufacturing companies. Dental hygiene products and their disposal often result in millions of mouthwash bottles, floss containers, toothpaste tubes, and toothbrushes thrown away each year, resulting in:
- A football stadiums worth of empty floss containers
- 50 millions pounds of plastic waste from toothbrushes alone
- Over four gallons of water wasted per person while brushing and flossing
- Countless mouthwash bottles thrown into landfills, unable to decay for thousands of years
- Leaking batteries are entering landfills from battery-powered toothbrushes.
All of this plastic present within our landfills will leave its mark for decades. Ultimately, these pieces of plastic will lead into the oceans, killing endangered ocean life and polluting the waters that provide our beaches, fish, and islands across the world. Taking action by learning about sustainable oral hygiene methods is the best way to contribute to this ever-growing problem.
How We Suggest Reducing Your Environmental Impact
According to research provided by the National Institute of Health, changing your brushing and flossing method can dramatically change how your impact the environment. Researchers state that behavioral interventions for sustainability are limited if they aren’t fully maintained in practice. Due to the complex and systemic factors associated with these efforts, special attention is required to improve these barriers to more sustainable and innovative measures. For research into how oral habits affect our environmental impact, then reinforcing these practices can help gradually improve our environments and oral health over time.
Maintaining good oral practices while caring for the environment may appear an easy task, but being environmentally conscious means caring for every action that you take towards creating a better environment for everyone. Manufacturers and researchers attempt to provide more worldwide sustainability methods, people’s everyday habits when caring for their health matter, so choosing that plastic toothbrush or throwing away that empty toothpaste tube can have a long-lasting impact on the environment than expected. As dentists, paying attention to how our practices affect the environment needs to be more emphasized to create a better, healthier world. Patients can find the resources needed to make better environmental choices for those who advertise for more sustainable practices. If you wish to learn how to be more sustainable while caring for your oral health, then here are our suggestions for reducing your footprint for our beautiful world:
- Use Less Water – Using less water is one of the most sustainable acts you can make for reducing your impact cause it can save over four gallons of water per person if that water is only used minimally for brushing and flossing.
- Purchase Eco-Friendly Products – Products such as bamboo toothbrushes, mouthwash tablets, and silk floss can help reduce our impact and turn to more modern oral hygiene methods.
- Invest in Long-Term Solutions – If you can’t afford eco-friendly products, then make sure to invest your money into hygiene products that will last longer and won’t be thrown away. For brushes, look for soft-bristled brushes that have a long-lasting quality to suit your needs.
If you plan on changing the way you approach your environment, then there are things you can do in every aspect of your life to become more sustainable and provide a greater impact on the world around you. Before you go purchasing eco-friendly toothbrushes and all-natural toothpaste, we suggest you begin with one of the hardest habits to change – your routine. Your routine matters most in changing the environment for the better, and one of the best routines you can do to protect your teeth and the environment is to schedule an appointment with your dentist.