Sustainability in the dental practice supports better overall health outcomes for patients and practitioners
The Sustainability in Dentistry policy statement, adopted by the FDI General Assembly in 2019, recognizes prevention of oral diseases and the promotion of health as the most sustainable way to ensure optimal, accessible and affordable oral health with minimal impact on the environment.
FDI highlights the need to reduce the environmental impact of dentistry without compromising quality of care
FDI, as the principal representative body for more than one million dentists worldwide, is currently developing guidelines on how to run an environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and successful dental practice. Dr James Zenk (FDI Dental Practice Committee Chair and leader of FDI’s Sustainability in Dentistry project) reinforces how important green dentistry is to FDI and believes the organization’s commitment to sustainability can help dentists achieve sustainability in their daily work too:
“Many countries are leading the way in [terms of green dentistry] and many dentists are making sustainability a high priority by using more environmentally friendly dental supplies and equipment, cleaning products, or making structural, energy efficient changes to their clinics. FDI can help by sharing these success stories to help build awareness in other countries and offices that are only beginning their sustainability journey.”
FDI’s new infographic on sustainability in dentistry highlights the environmental impact of dentistry as well as the ways in which these impacts can be reduced, for the health of the patient, the practitioner, and the practice. The Sustainability in Dentistry project aims to show how good oral health benefits not only patients and dental practices, but also the environment.
Steps to take today for a more sustainable dental practice tomorrow
Sustainability in dentistry is multifaceted and involves many stakeholders who all have a role to play, including national governments, scientists, educators, manufacturers, distributors, dental equipment technicians, waste collectors and processors.1
Maintaining good oral health and providing quality care can often reduce costly interventions and result in more sustainable outcomes. In dental practices, appropriate waste management, such as reducing medical waste, paper use, water consumption or changing to alternative (electronic) methods of record keeping and using durable equipment also impact carbon emissions and wider sustainability.2 Patient and supplier education are equally important for sustainable and cost-effective methods of consumption and production.3
1 FDI World Dental Federation. Sustainability in Dentistry. Available from: https://www.fdiworlddental.org/resources/policy-statements-and-resolutions/sustainability-in-dentistry [Accessed 16 October 2020].
2 Duane B, Swan J, Ramasubbu D, et al. Environmental sustainability and waste within the dental practice. British Dental Journal. 2019;226(8): 611-618.
3 Duane B, Stancliffe R, Miller FA, et al. Sustainability in Dentistry: A Multifaceted Approach Needed. Journal of Dental Research. 2020;99(9): 998–1003.