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The environment is a top priority for many people these days, and that’s why it’s essential to be aware of green dentistry strategies that will help you protect the earth while running your dental clinic. These are some of the most effective ways to do so.
Invest in an Amalgam Separator
An amalgam separator refers to the device that is attached to the dental unit. It separates and holds mercury, released into the environment when your facility’s equipment breaks down over time, and mercury vapor gets released into the air.
Investing in an amalgam separator will help to protect the environment. A suitable amalgam separator has the following qualities:
- It is easy to clean. The amalgam separator should come apart easily to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at least once a week.
- Separates all sizes of particles. You want one that will separate even small amounts.
- Has an indicator for when the tank needs to get emptied (has an alarm system). This way, mercury is not released into the environment prematurely; only after your dental unit breaks down over time.
Investing in an amalgam separator will help protect the environment by not releasing mercury into the air until your dental equipment breaks down over time.
Get Refillable Floss
Refillable floss refers to a reusable plastic container filled with floss that you use instead of traditional, disposable dental floss. This is an ideal option for those who like to reuse things and limit the amount of trash they create when doing their daily oral care routine.
You can purchase refillable floss at most drug stores or online retailers such as Amazon. The cost will vary based on how many containers of refills come in your package -make sure it has enough so that you never run out!
When getting a refillable floss, consider the following:
- The material of the container (is it BPA-free?)
- How many containers come in your package?
- What is in with a refillable floss purchase; dental floss, toothpaste, or mouthwash?
Mercury is a heavy metal that is toxic to the environment and detrimental to health. Unfortunately, you can find mercury in many of today’s dental materials, including amalgam fillings, as well as some toothpaste brands.
The following are effects of using products that contain mercury:
- Harmful effects on the kidneys and liver
- Reduced production of red blood cells, which can lead to anemia
- Damage to the central nervous system
- Harmful effects on the immune system and reproductive organs.
To avoid mercury when you run a dental clinic, it would be best not to use any products with this harmful chemical. Instead, use alternative dental materials such as composite resin fillings or porcelain crowns that do not contain this heavy metal.
You can also opt for toothpaste free of mercury, including natural brands available at your local drug store. Furthermore, you may consider using an amalgam separator to separate any leftover silver material after a filling procedure to keep it from being released into the environment.
Recycle What You Can
Recycling is a great way to protect the environment when you run a dental clinic. You can set up recycling bins for plastic, paper, and aluminum used in your office.
In some parts of the country, there is also recycling available for mercury-containing amalgam separators emptied by patients who need their teeth removed because of how unsafe it is once those units become full.
Recycling has the following benefits:
- Recycling keeps waste out of landfills
- Decrease energy consumption by recycling instead of producing new products from raw materials
- Preserves resources for future generations to use
Implement an Environmentally Friendly Sterilization Program
A sterilization program refers to the process that dental equipment goes through to sterilize after use. The most common way for this is by using heat and steam, which can be harmful to the environment and humans.
There are new sterilizing methods used in clinics instead of sodium hydroxide or bleach solutions called peracetic acid (PAA). This method does not leave residues behind on instruments as other methods do and kills bacteria more efficiently than steam alone. You can make sure the PAA solution is always fresh by getting a closed system.
Get Rid of Aerosol Products
Aerosol products refer to anything in an aerosol spray can. These products are typically environmentally unfriendly because of the chemicals used to make them, and they release greenhouse gases into the air during production.
It would help if you considered using many alternatives instead, when running a dental clinic, such as wipes or toothpaste tubes with pumps on top. Getting rid of these products will help you protect the environment, and it will also save your company money.
Stock on All-Natural Oral Care Products
This means using products that don’t have any harsh chemicals or other toxic ingredients.
There are several green oral care options for you to choose from, including toothpaste, mouthwash, and flossing products.
You can even switch your current brand over to a “greener” form while still getting the same results! You might notice some changes in taste since natural formulations tend to be less sweet than their traditional counterparts.
The good news is that this change will probably help you get used to it faster. And by using natural oral care products, you’ll be reducing the amount of synthetic chemical compounds going into landfills around the country.
In the end, you’ll be doing your part to protect our environment while still keeping up with all of your patient’s oral care needs.
Purchase Eco-Friendly Scrubs
Eco-friendly scrubs are made with sustainable materials like organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo instead of plastics or other synthetic fibers. Using such scrubs has the following benefits:
- It’s sustainable
- Offers a variety of colors and styles
- Available in organic cotton, hemp, or bamboo fibers instead of plastics or other synthetic fibers
It can be recycled too when it is time to dispose of the clothes! Nowadays, buying eco-friendly scrubs has never been easier with online shopping. And because the planet needs more care these days, you should try to find ways to protect the environment when you run a dental clinic.
Put Indoor Plants Around the Office
Indoor plants are a great décor addition to any office, but they also have a few benefits for the environment. According to NASA research, houseplants can help filter out toxins in the air and improve your overall indoor air quality. In addition, they are aesthetically pleasing to patients while promoting good health among staff members.
Carefully choose what kinds of plants you add to your dental practice because some can be harmful if ingested by pets or children that may wander around waiting rooms. If you do not want pet-friendly or child-friendly plants inside your clinic, put each plant in separate areas where there isn’t too much foot traffic from animals and kids under supervision.
Some examples of safe options include Ficus trees, pothos vines (ivy), English ivy, aloe vera plants, rubber trees, and spider plants.
Switch to Water-Saving Toilets
This refers to switching to low-flush or water-saving toilets, which will save you money on your water bills. Water-saving toilets have the following benefits:
- They require less water to flush, which means you save money on your water bill
- A lot of them have a larger trapway with no exposed holes. This makes it hard for paper towels or feminine products to get flushed down the toilet and causes plumbing problems within your dental clinic.
Install Linoleum Flooring
This refers to replacing high-emitting materials, such as carpet and vinyl tile. Linoleum is an organic material that doesn’t emit any VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air.
Instead, soil bacteria produce methane gas in sunlight on the surface of linoleum which helps remove odors from surfaces below it. It can be recycled at the end of its life cycle too.
Reduce Energy Use
Reducing your carbon footprint by using less electricity or natural resources will help protect the planet for future generations. There are a few ways you could go about this:
- Getting solar panels installed on your office roof
- Changing out your light bulbs for LED lighting
- Investing in solar water heating
Hand Out Patient Giveaways in Reusable Containers
This is a straightforward way of going green in your dental office. Using reusable containers to hand out patient giveaways can help cut down on paper waste and plastic use, which is unsuitable for the environment. This also makes the giving-out process more efficient because you won’t have to worry about misplaced items or having too many boxes.
Partner with Businesses with Sustainable Practices
Partnering up with other environmentally conscious companies will make it easier for everyone involved to go green without too much extra effort. For example, if you partner up with a local florist shop, they could send flowers instead of teddy bears as part of their gift basket service which would be wasteful considering how many people do this. You’d get all your materials from one source, and your patients would be happy with the final product.
In conclusion, there are many things you can do to help the environment while running a dental clinic. Some of the best ways have been mentioned above. Consider implementing them if you want to practice green dentistry.
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