You care about the planet – and your dental health. How can you combine the two? If you’re eco-conscious, but still want to maintain a healthy mouth, take a look at the top ways you can green your oral health routine.
Brushing your teeth is a non-negotiable part of your oral care routine. Proper brushing removes plaque and debris, reducing the risks of dental decay and improving gum health. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing for two minutes twice a day. Some dental patients also need to brush following meals and snacks.
What does brushing your teeth have to do with the environment? If you leave the faucet running during your two-minute-long brushing sessions, you’re wasting water. To decrease the amount of water you use, turn the faucet off when you’re brushing. There’s no need to let a steady stream flow when your brush is in your mouth.
To save water (and the planet) when brushing:
- Turn the water on to start. Wet your brush briefly before putting it in your mouth.
- Turn the water off. Time two minutes, keeping the water off the entire time. If you need to spit out excess toothpaste, wait until you’re completely done to wash the residue down the drain.
- Turn the water on again. After the two minutes is up, briefly turn the water on to rinse your mouth and wash any remaining toothpaste down the drain.
- Make sure there are no drips. Turn the faucet completely off. A leaky faucet can waste over 3,000 gallons of water annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Take your water-saving strategy a step further and replace old, worn bathroom sink faucets with
WaterSense-labeled models. According to the EPA, this can save up to 13,000 gallons of water per year.
A healthy mouth routine includes more than just brushing. Drinking water can also help to decrease the likelihood of dental dilemmas. Choosing water over other beverages reduces the risks associated with drinking sugary sodas, sports drinks, and juices. These known cavity causers bathe your mouth in sugar, feeding oral bacteria.
Along with decreasing the likelihood of cavity development (in comparison to sugary drinks), water can protect your teeth. Fluoridated tap water is known to be a cavity-reducing agent according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What can you do to help the planet and your teeth at the same time? Reduce plastic waste and add fluoride to your dental health routine by choosing tap water over the bottled version. In 2015, U.S. consumers and businesses generated 34.5 million tons of plastic waste, according to the EPA. Instead of adding to the waste, skip the plastic and choose a reusable/refillable bottle and tap water.
Like brushing, regular dental visits are non-negotiable. Preventative care allows the dentist to spot minor problems before they turn into major dental issues. Along with check-ups, routine cleanings reach areas that you may miss when brushing and remove decay-causing plaque buildup.
How can you green your dental visits? Start by talking to your dentist or the dental office staff. While you can’t make changes for them, you can ask if they use digital records or computerized versions of diagnostic tests (such as x-rays).
Acting as an advocate for the environment is an easy way to help the planet. Starting a discussion with your dental professional can help you feel better about your choice of practice and may even give the staff additional ideas to put into play.
Are you looking for a new dental practice? Contact the office of Vincent J. Picone, DDS for more information.