Organization says green dental practices that start early can last a lifetime and make an impact
BERKELEY, California The Eco-Dentistry Association™ (EDA), an international association of dental professionals who use eco-friendly methods, honors February’s Children’s Dental Month by encouraging parents to incorporate green dental practices early in their children’s lives. A green routine that starts early can instill environmental wellness values that last a lifetime and make an impact on the planet.
So, here are 10 tips to keep in mind:
(1) The best medicine is prevention! So start kids with brushing and flossing early, and build a habit of brushing after sweets.
(2) Teach your kids to turn off the water while they brush. This can save up to 90 glasses of water per day!
(3) Look for toothpaste that does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate which can cause canker sores in some kids.
(4) The teen years are a great time to introduce a tooth tonic or mouthwash into a dental routine. Look for one that does not contain alcohol. You may not realize it, but some mouthwashes can contain up to five times the alcohol of beer.
(5) Test your child’s bio-compatibility. A simple blood test can let you know if your child may be sensitive to certain dental materials, and determine the restorative materials most suitable for your child’s bio-chemistry.
(6) Night guards for teens. Prevent damage caused by clenching and grinding related to stress. Choose one created by your dentist specific to your teen’s bite. Ask for one that doesn’t contain potentially harmful BPAs found in many plastics.
(7) Digital imaging – choose digital imaging for your child’s radiographs (x-rays). These diagnostic images use less radiation, won’t degrade over time and are easily sent by e-mail to specialists.
(8) Dentistry is a healing experience and should not be traumatic. Take your child with you to your dental appointments from a young age. Sitting on your lap or getting to sit in the dental chair without being a “patient” will ensure dental appointments are a positive experience for your child.
(9) Dental statistics show that tooth decay is the most common health concern that kids face. That's why it's very
important for kids to have timely dental checkups to check for decay before too much of the tooth structure is affected.
(10) Visit www.ecodentistry.org to find an eco-friendly dentist near you. Green dental offices avoid many of the toxic chemicals used in dental office processes. This means cleaner air for you and your family while in the office, cleaner air and water for your community, and less waste for the landfill.
A few facts about children’s dental health:
77% of US children ages 2-17 have at least one dental visit per year.
Tooth decay remains the most common chronic disease among children ages 5-17, with 59% affected.
More than 51 million hours of school are lost each year by children due to dental related illness.
Only 40% of young people age 6 to 19 have ever had cavities in their lives. That’s down from 50% a decade ago.
The EDA offers dental professionals practical tips on reducing waste and pollution and conserving resources, like setting photocopiers to make double-sided copies, proper disposal of mercury-containing dental waste, and planet-friendly building and office methods, like using non-toxic paint and electronic patient communications.
It provides the public with information about digital x-ray systems which reduce radiation exposure by up to 90%, dental appliances free from the hormone-disrupting chemical, bisphenol-A, found in many plastics, and questions to ask their dentists about environmental stewardship. The Association’s web site also allows eco-conscious consumers to search for eco-friendly dental professionals in their area.
The EDA’s members are representative of the dental profession and include general and specialist dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, dental labs, and office managers. The group’s members hail from all over including unexpected places like Waxahachie, Texas, Beachwood, Ohio and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The organization is the brainchild of Dr. Fred Pockrass, a dentist, and his entrepreneur wife, Ina Pockrass. Six years ago, the couple created the model for eco-friendly dentistry, and operates their own award winning dental practice in Berkeley, California, the first in the country to be certified as a green business. They formed the organization to stimulate a movement in the dental industry to employ environmentally-sound practices.
More information can be found at www.ecodentistry.org