You only have to take a walk along a local beach to realise that the amount of plastic in the environment is at record levels. There are all manner of plastic bottles and fishing debris littering the shoreline, but if you get down on your hands and knees you can see that although these large items are eventually broken down – they don’t disappear completely. Much of the ‘sand’ on the beaches is actually composed of tiny pieces of coloured plastic.
Now, healthcare is one of the arch polluters in terms of plastics. It’s an unfortunate side effect of very high levels of hygiene and cross-infection control that many items are disposable. At the Bay Dental Practice we do our best to operate in an environmentally friendly way but there’s no escaping the fact that large amounts of material leaves the building every week in ‘Biohazard’ bags which end up in landfill or incinerators.
With over 2 billion plastic toothbrushes being discarded worldwide every year, one of the ways dentistry might be able to help the environment is to encourage the use of biodegradable materials. There are many different products on the market nowadays but at the practice we’ve decided to offer the ‘Humble” toothbrush, as not only is it made from biodegradable materials but the company also donates a free brush or other dental care product to somebody in the third world for every brush sold.
So next time you’re in a rush for your dental appointment and haven’t had time to give your teeth a quick scrub before seeing the dentist, you can pick up a bamboo toothbrush that will not only keep you healthy but might just to something for the health of the planet as well.