In the world of dental hygiene products, plastic is king. It is water-resistant, durable, and able to be sterilized easily while also being inexpensive to produce. These very traits are part of the problem the world faces when it comes to managing the waste produced by dental care practices. While the problem extends to the products used in professional dentistry, you can do your part to ensure your home care routine doesn’t harm the environment. With over 50 million tons of plastic waste resulting from toothbrush disposal alone, only with all of us pulling together can we reduce the amount of waste produced by caring for our teeth.
The Impact of Oral Hygiene on the Environment
Many people are becoming more concerned about their choices and how they affect the health of the planet. As the court of public opinion continues to gravitate towards more environmentally sustainable options, the marketplace begins to turn as well. This has resulted in ongoing changes in the dental industry that have resulted in the creation of new choices for dental consumers. The following steps can be taken by those who are interested in reducing their impact on the environment:
- Reduce Water Usage – Reducing the amount of water we waste as part of our oral health care is an important first step. It helps natural ecosystems by reducing demand and also reduces the strain placed on wastewater processing. Turn off your sink while brushing to save as much as four gallons each brushing.
- Eco-friendly Products – With the greater availability of products that have a reduced impact on the environment, it’s time to start switching up your medicine cabinet to include them. For those still using more traditional plastic toothbrushes, be sure that they make their way into the recycling bin.
- Practice Better Habits – Reducing the amount of water you use is just the first step. You can also make sure you dispose of your supplies properly in the recycling bin, select mulberry silk floss instead of nylon, and use mouthwash tablets that come in refillable metal tins. These all reduce your impact.
One way you can ensure you get the most of your brushing routine is to avoid rinsing after you brush. Instead, move right into flossing your teeth. This ensures that the toothpaste gets between the teeth and cleans out remaining debris, and lets these areas benefit from the fluoride in the toothpaste. Following your flossing with a quick rinse of water minimizes waste and gets you the best of all worlds.
Continuing To Learn About How Dental Care Impacts The Environment
The single most important step you can take in caring for the environment starts with curiosity. Take time to learn how your choices impact the environment and then make changes that help to reduce your overall impact. With all of us working on this together, we can have clean mouths and a clean planet.