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Smile in uncertain times: local ecological responsibility for a global success 

Do you know how long it takes for a toothbrush to degrade? Approximately 75 years.

Do you know what happens with your toothbrush when the time has come to dispose of it? You can imagine two possible paths: the brush finishes in the recycling bin or it doesn’t.

In reality, toiletries such as floss, razors or the brush itself are not containers and the recycling of the various plastic materials that make up the bristles and the toothbrush handle, to date, still poses a challenge as regards recycl-ing.

But there are even more questions: do you know how many kilos of toothbrushes a person discards throughout his life in a country like Spain? It is estimated at five kilos, due to the recommendation to change the brush at least once every three months.

There is one last question: is oral health and ecology concepts opposed for the moment? The adaptation of daily habits to climate reality is essential. On the other hand, the ecological responsibility of the companies must be a priority obligation when it comes to providing solutions to the ecological transition as a challenge for the next decades.

Amaya Sáez, director of Artedental, talks about the commitment in new techniques of implantology such as autologous grafts, in which the implant is made through tissue obtained from the patient, and therefore, they are organic.

The centre committed itself a few years ago to reduce the impact as much as possible through measures such as the gradual renewal of its equipment to guarantee a lower electrical cost or the sending of digital radiography to save on printing plastics.

“As a company, we must find ourselves in the ecological forefront to preach with the example to our patients.”

For some months now, the clinic offers customers ecological toothbrushes such as the Brushboo company, made from bamboo moso and whose bristles are nylon 4, the plastic with the highest biodegradability. From Artedental they suggest that at the time of disposing of the brush the wooden handle of the bristles should be separated, being able to deposit these within the yellow container.

But much remains to be done until the world of dentistry becomes a clean industry. Many of the biggest issues come from, precisely, the products we use regularly. For full cleaning of the mouth, the use of floss is essential. However, the conventional threads are not recyclable, since they are usually manufactured with nylon, whose degradation is very slow. There are dental yarns made from vegetable fibres, which of course manage to degrade biologically like any other organic fabric and that can be acquired through the internet.

On the other hand, the dental mercury used for the production of amalgam fillings has resulted not only in an important ecological problem, but also a harmful element for the neurological health of people, and it is estimated that their prolonged contact could result in ailments . As of 2018 its use in the European Union has been suspended. It is also considered that the people who previously had this type of fillings should have them replaced by less damaging materials as much for their health as the one of the environment. The amalgam can be replaced by materials without any toxicity such as composite or resin.

Finally, it is worth remembering that the greenhouse gases emitted by vehicles are one of the main causes of global warming. It is important that our activity and consumption take place as close as possible to the environment in which we live to save on preventable pollution. Better to go to local dental clinics, instead of leaving even the islands or Spain to visit the dentist, is an important step towards achieving that, among all, we live in a healthier planet.