Dentists are able to provide not only a change to oral health of a community, but also positively impact the general health of the community. Through environmentally friendly practices done within the dental office to lifestyle recommendations to patients that help their teeth and their community, dentists are able to promote general healthy living.
Using digital X-rays
Digital X-rays are thought to be a safer and healthier alternative to traditional dental X-rays. Digital X-rays use about 90 percent less radiation when scanning the mouth, which reduces the risks associated with radiation and radiation poisoning. Additionally, traditionally X-rays require that the photograph of the inside of the patient’s mouth by printed out and then cured using a blend of chemicals. Digital X-rays use no chemicals, as the images of the teeth and jaw are developed digitally on a computer.
Utilizing fewer chemicals
Opting to use fewer chemicals within a dental practice promotes healthy living because it keeps the air clean and free of unnecessary waste from chemical ventilation. Transitioning from traditional X-rays to digital X-rays is one way that dentists can reduce their use of chemicals, and another way is to remove them from the sterilization process. Sterilizing instruments after each use with potent chemicals is not a healthy environmental practice, especially if there is an alternative or if the solution can be diluted.
Providing non-amalgam fillings
Amalgam fillings are fillings that can be comprised of a variety of metals, including silver, gold, mercury, tin and copper. Although the amount of mercury used in amalgam fillings is small, there are still questions about its effect on the health of patients who utilize this type of filling. Using metal for fillings helps to contribute to metal waste, as composite fillings are a more sustainable option.
Providing information on healthy lifestyle changes to patients:
There are many lifestyle changes that patients can make that will improve the state of their mouth while also promoting health in the community. A dental professional is able to make recommendations to patients that can make a big change in their lifestyle.
- Eat and grow healthy foods: Eating healthy foods not only promotes health in the general body, but it also helps with oral health. When consuming sugars and starches the teeth become more likely to be subject to tooth decay or gum disease. Letting patients know that by eating healthy they are taking away the ability of bacteria to reproduce within their mouth while simultaneously having a positive impact on their body.
- Eliminate tobacco use: Choosing not to use tobacco products is the best option for oral health because it reduces tooth decay, halitosis and staining. Not smoking tobacco products also is a healthy way to help the community because there will be a decrease in tobacco butts and waste caused by cigarettes in the environment.
Healthy bodies have healthy teeth: Encouraging patients to treat their bodies well by exercising, eating right and following a proper hygiene routine can cause a big benefit to their oral health. The health of the body is often reflective of the health of the mouth and vice versa, so it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle when looking for improved oral health.