A social shift to a greener way of life


  Posted by: Dental Design      19th May 2023

As the years go on, the topic of environmental protection continues to make headlines. In 2022, the UK’s annual average temperature surpassed 10ºC, making it the warmest year on record.[i] Evidently, our way of living is no longer sustainable, with calls being made to businesses, sectors and individuals to make crucial changes for the welfare of the planet.

Fortunately, consumer perspective has seen a paradigm shift, with many individuals now seeking a greener way of life. Industries such as dentistry have likewise recognised the importance of making fundamental changes to their products and materials. On a local level, many dental practices have endeavoured to make their facilities more environmentally-conscious. For patients keen to make a positive impact, they are likely to value a dental practice that makes an effort.

As pressure continues to rise for more sustainable practises, the dental team play a key role in helping patients make safe, informed switches that don’t compromise their oral health.

A snapshot of consumer behaviour

UK consumers have become more aware of how they can reduce their environmental impact. Compared to 2021, last year saw an increase of people adopting a more sustainable lifestyle:[ii] according to Deloitte, 75% of consumers recycled/composted household waste, 64% limited single-use plastic consumption and 40% opted for more environmentally-conscious brands.ii Following the catastrophic energy and cost-of-living crises, many people undoubtedly made more mindful efforts to limit their energy and water consumption as well. However, news headlines did note that due to the rise in costs, some consumers may still opt for cheaper products over sustainable, yet inevitably more expensive alternatives.

Cost can be a barrier to investing in better options, whether that be for products that encompass clothing, hygiene, beauty or healthcare. Nonetheless, it’s clear that the notion of sustainability has become more widespread. The Deloitte survey noted that 24% of consumers would pay more for products that had sustainable packaging,ii and that the sustainable and environmental ethics and values of the business were important when making a purchase. When it comes to healthcare products, society has seen a shift to more ‘natural’ and/or ‘organic’ branding and ingredients. Many brands have recognised and seek to meet the demand for products that are effective with naturally-derived ingredients, with a company ethos that is transparent and progressive. Sustainability in the fashion and beauty industries has become increasingly trendy, too.

In dentistry

With regards to dental products, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and interdental cleaning items, the need to be more eco-friendly has gained traction, as have cruelty-free and vegan credentials. The dental market is under pressure to not only ensure that products meet this criterion, but are still effective in protecting oral health, which ultimately is the priority. However, the impact of dentistry on the planet cannot be ignored – it’s thought that approximately 300 million plastic toothpaste tubes are thrown away every year in the UK, for instance.[iii] As such, consumers need to find the balance between cost effectiveness, sustainability and quality, to ensure they can make better decisions while not compromising their health. And there are plenty of accessible, cost-effective options available on the market today, ranging from bamboo toothbrushes to recyclable electric toothbrush heads and dentifrices that contain natural ingredients and eco-friendly packaging. The dental team play a notable role by recommending sustainable and safe products to patients, aiding them when making greener decisions.

For example, recommend the Arm & Hammer 100% Natural Baking Soda Toothpaste range, which includes two solutions for gum protection and tooth whitening. Both contain baking soda, the all-natural, powerhouse ingredient. Clinically proven to deliver outstanding results, the Arm & Hammer 100% Natural Baking Soda Toothpaste range is an ideal choice for patients looking to protect their oral health, without damaging the planet. This is because the carton, tube and cap are all 100% recyclable, with a cruelty-free and vegan-friendly formula!

Small changes add up

Tackling environmental issues is a monumental task, and it has long been stressed that changes must be made on a local and global scale to ensure the planet’s longevity. Fortunately, consumer behaviour is inching closer towards a more sustainable mindset.

The dental team can play their part by not only making changes to their businesses and workflows, but also through recommending clinically-supported solutions that are more environmentally-friendly. This way, patients can take small steps to live a more conscious lifestyle while protecting their oral health. 

For more information about the carefully formulated Arm & Hammer toothpaste range, please visit https://www.armandhammer.co.uk/ or email: ukenquiries@churchdwight.com

Arm & Hammer oral healthcare products can now be purchased from Boots, Amazon, Superdrug, ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrison’s, Waitrose & Partners and Ocado.

Margaret Black bio

I have more than 40 years’ experience in dentistry, qualifying as a dental nurse in 1982 and gaining a Diploma in Dental Hygiene in 1992.

I have experience in both NHS and private dental practice and spent time travelling Scotland as a Clinical Hygienist in Dental Research.

Presently, I split my working week between fixed and locum hygienist posts and was lucky to secure a role as an independent contractor for Church and Dwight in 2019. 

Each role compliments the other and I enjoy meeting different practice teams. 

In my personal life, I am married with an adult daughter and enjoy spending time with family and friends. I love travelling and am looking forward to a long-awaited post pandemic holiday. 

[i] Met Office. (n.d.). Climate change drives UK’s first year over 10°C. [online] Available at: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/press-office/news/weather-and-climate/2023/climate-change-drives-uks-first-year-over-10c [Accessed 5 Jan. 2023].

[ii] Deloitte (2022). Shifting sands: Are Consumers Still Embracing sustainability? [online] Deloitte. Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/consumer-business/articles/sustainable-consumer.html [Accessed 5 Jan. 2023].

[iii] www.gdpuk.com. (n.d.). GDPUK.com – Toothpaste Tubes – An Environmental Hazard? [online] Available at: https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/3869-toothpaste-tubes-an-environmental-hazard#:~:text=It [Accessed 5 Jan. 2023].


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