The great, green world of dentistry


  Posted by: Dental Design      27th August 2023

Nothing quite screams modern innovation like the concept of ‘going green’ in every walk of life. Over the last few years, it’s become a phrase that has been recycled and reused, but certainly not reduced, and has grown into a formidable force in dentistry. With patients increasingly likely to seek out sustainable care, and professionals recognising a growing responsibility to help the planet where possible, how can you make your dentistry eco-friendly?

Why should I go green? 

Environmentally-friendly dentistry aims to protect the planet, whilst continuing to prioritise effective care for your patients. A green approach can save you time and money by taking contemporary approaches to reducing waste, conserving energy, and decreasing your pollution contributions.[i]

Your patients may also appreciate your efforts to be environmentally-friendly, and it could affect their healthcare decisions. More than a quarter of millennials and Gen Zs are influenced by a businesses’ impact on the environment when considering interacting with them.[ii] These consumer attitudes are quickly permeating into the medical fields; post-pandemic, healthcare was of highest concern to millennials, and Gen Z prioritised it closely behind the environment.[iii]

Energy use

A major step towards a greener practice is judicious management of your electrical appliance use. They factor for the third largest proportion of emissions caused by dental practices, led otherwise only by travel and procurement processes.[iv] This stands as no surprise considering the extensive need for electric-powered equipment such as compressors, drills, lighting, and computers.

The simplest change could make the largest difference. Using light-emitting diode (LED) lights in a practice could reduce energy consumption by 70%,[v] when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. The latter wastes 90% of its energy,[vi] an unnecessary contribution to the overall harm to the planet.

Digital workflows can help save the environment – and the dental team’s time – by reducing single use paper waste. Digitising billing and charting systems is quickly becoming the norm in most practices. Whilst reducing the amount of paper you use, the time spent filing information is reduced, and finding said information is far easier. 

Single use waste in the practice

Look around a dental practice, and there is an astronomical number of items that have a lifespan of one patient’s visit. The average number of single use items used in one procedure alone is 41, inclusive of set up, decontamination, and generic PPE. This is raised to 50 items when factoring in PPE essential for the COVID-19 pandemic period.[vii] Taking into account the number of dental healthcare professionals, and the average number of patients treated over the span of a year, an approximate 2 billion single use items are used in one year – with a predictably large impact on the world outside of the practice.vii

By reducing the amount of single use products employed, and instead investing in and decontaminating reusable items, a practice could help the environment and save money in the long term without the need to consistently purchase so many items in bulk. The shift from the likes of single use chair barriers, lab coats and disposable sterilisation pouches to cloth items could save a practice up to thousands of pounds annually.[viii]Post-pandemic guidelines allow practices to make these considered choices once again.

Waste at home

Consider the items you recommend to patients for their oral care routines at home as well. Toothbrushes are a mainstay in a great oral hygiene routine, and options are growing to make them an environmentally-friendly product. In the UK, 256 million toothbrushes are estimated to be discarded every year.[ix] This number can’t be changed, but the design of toothbrush can be.

In environmental impact comparisons between toothbrushes, replaceable head plastic brushes are some of the kindest for the environment.[x] A replaceable head toothbrush effectively minimises plastic waste by reducing the single use plastic for a handle. The longevity of this part of the brush is also increased, extending its lifetime beyond the average 3 months, making it a sustainable option for patients.[xi]

Patients will require more than a toothbrush for their oral care routine. Using an interdental brush provides a significant benefit to gingival health and preventing oral disease.[xii] Similarly to toothbrushes, an effective design can reduce their environmental footprint. Those with a replaceable-head are again a beneficial option, with a minimal impact to climate change against alternative designs.

Ensuring your patients have sustainable options throughout their entire routine can protect the environment, whilst greatly improving their oral health.

For effective oral care that also looks after the planet, consider recommending the CPS Prime interdental brushes from Curaprox to your patients. CPS interdental brushes are among the finest available, with the ability to clean every inch of critical interdental space to prevent inflammation, bad breath and tooth decay. The convenient click handle system means the brushes have replaceable heads, so your patients can find the right sizes for their routines, whilst reducing their plastic waste significantly. 

Dentistry can be impactful and innovative for a patient, whilst being kinder to the world around us. It only takes simple steps to transform your practice from great, to green.

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[i] Rastogi, V., Sharma, R., Yadav, L., Satpute, P., & Sharma, V. (2014). Green dentistry, a metamorphosis towards an eco-friendly dentistry: A short communication. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR, 8(7), ZM01.

[ii] Davies, S. (2022) Why eco-friendly dentistry should be a top priority for dental professionals. BDJ Team, 9, 28-29. Available at:

[iii] Deloitte. (2021) A call for accountability and action. The Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey. Available at:[Accessed May 2023]

[iv] Duane, B., Harford, S., Ramasubbu, D., Stancliffe, R., Pasdeki-Clewer, E., Lomax, R., & Steinbach, I. (2019). Environmentally sustainable dentistry: a brief introduction to sustainable concepts within the dental practice. British dental journal, 226(4), 292-295.

[v] Mittal, R., Maheshwari, R., Tripathi, S., & Pandey, S. (2020). Eco-friendly dentistry: Preventing pollution to promoting sustainability. Indian Journal of Dental Sciences, 12(4), 251.

[vi] Colella, O., Miller, M., Boone, E., Buffington‐Lester, S., Curran III, F. J., & Simmons, T. (2020). The Effect of Time and Temperature on the Persistence and Quality of Latent Fingerprints Recovered from 60‐Watt Incandescent Light Bulbs. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 65(1), 90-96.

[vii] Martin, N., Mulligan, S., Fuzesi, P., & Hatton, P. V. (2022). Quantification of single use plastics waste generated in clinical dental practice and hospital settings. Journal of Dentistry, 118, 103948.

[viii] The Eco-Dentistry Association. (n.d.) Go Green Save Green. Eco-Dentistry Association. Available at: [Accessed May 2023]

[ix] McCaig, P. (2023). Solutions for dentists to support your eco journey. BDJ In Practice, 36(4), 32-32.

[x] Shah, A. (2020). How eco-friendly are our toothbrushes?. British Dental Journal, 229(5), 300-301.

[xi] Pesevska, S., Ivanovski, K., Mindova, S., Kaftandzieva, A., Ristoska, S., Stefanovska, E., … & Koneski, F. (2016). Bacterial contamination of the toothbrushes. Journal of International Dental and Medical Research.

[xii] Ng, E., & Lim, L. P. (2019). An overview of different interdental cleaning aids and their effectiveness. Dentistry journal, 7(2), 56.

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