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Responsibilities and Challenges Faced by Oral Health Care Professionals in Achieving Sustainable Goals

by Carey Lise

The oral health care industry is also a contributor of carbon dioxide emissions, specifically involving three principal sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

1.  The electricity, water, fuel and other resources used in the manufacture, distribution, and production of dental productsand materials used for tooth implant,

2.  To and fro travel and transport of health personnel and dental patients to the dental care centers.

3.  The waste generated from the different processes, and the management of wastes particularly the disposal of single-use plastics (SUPs).

Recognizing the Oral Health Care Industry’s Contribution to Carbon Footprint and Pollution

The FDI World Dental Federation embodied in its FDI Vision 2030 document the goals that oral health professionals must promote as sustainable universal oral health. Maintaining good oral health can largely prevent diseases if discovered and treated in the early stages of dental problems, However, providing oral health care whether for long-term maintenance, for therapeutic interventions, or in a prevention form, bring forth significant amounts of carbon footprint and pollution.

Professionals in the oral health care business have a moral and ethical responsibility to make sure the dental processes are carried out in a sustainable manner. Managing the impact of their dental care activities on their environment, is part of their responsibility.

Challenges Faced by the Oral health Care Industry in Developing Sustainable Health Care Practice

The relevant responsibility for the burdensome single-use plastic (SUP) wastes must take into consideration the huge amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE) being used during the still ongoing pandemic. The increased use of PPE in the healthcare industry has made it difficult maintain the sustainability of PPE-used in both general health care and oral health care practice.

Other challenges faced by the oral health care sector in trying to achieve sustainable developments and goals, concern the patient’s attitudes, perception of affordable costs and the legislative frameworks within which dental procedures and dental measures are implemented.

The patient, being the recipient of the dental service must assume responsibility maintain proper oral health care to ensure the treatment will last. It is important for patients to manage if not avoid risk factors like alcohol intake, unhealthy diet, smoking and plaque formation.

Dental and oral health care centers should host formal staff meetings that would discuss the agenda for incorporating sustainability in dental practice. Doing so would be the perfect way to start planning the measures that would create significant solutions to the planet’s environmental problems.