It paves the way for an industry Code of Good Practice
FDI World Dental Federation (FDI), launched its inaugural Consensus Statement on Environmentally Sustainable Oral Healthcare, aimed at moving the oral healthcare sector towards more environmentally friendly practices that ultimately reduce the carbon footprint of the profession.
The Consensus Statement was released today at a special summit organized by FDI that brought together a diverse range of influential stakeholders, including leading figures from the industry as well as health professionals, academic experts, legislative authorities, and dental associations.
"It will come as a surprise to many people that the healthcare sector is responsible for around five per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, of which oral healthcare is an important contributor," said Prof. Ihsane Ben Yahya, FDI President and dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, Mohammed VI University of Health Sciences, Casablanca, Morocco.
"The dental industry has a collective responsibility to reduce its environmental impact and today's Consensus Statement is the first major step to achieving that. The Consensus Statement reflects the growing recognition within the oral healthcare community that we must strive to improve oral health in a sustainable manner in compliance with UN targets. Healthier mouths mean a healthier planet."
Oral healthcare contributes to the environmental burden through air pollution arising from the release of CO2 associated with travel and transport, incineration of waste, lack of recyclable packaging, the greenhouse gas impact of anaesthetic gases such as nitrous oxide, and the high consumption of water.
The Consensus Statement identifies the complex drivers that underpin current behaviours and practices and recommends remediation strategies based on the 4 Rs: Reduce, Recycle, Reuse and Rethink.
Whilst highlighting some of the unavoidable environmental impacts linked to providing accessible dental check-ups and treatments to facilitate good oral health and reduce inequalities in healthcare. It also makes the case for minimizing "avoidable" oral healthcare, arguing that it is best achieved through both the delivery and maintenance of good oral healthcare, focused on prevention with the promotion of good oral hygiene, healthy low-sugar diets, and avoidance of tobacco.
"Prevention is better than cure and it is the most impactful and practical way of reducing the need for clinical interventions and associated environmental impacts," said Prof. Nicolas Martin, Chair of the FDI Sustainability in Dentistry Task Team and Clinical Professor in Restorative Dentistry in the School of Clinical Dentistry at the University of Sheffield in the UK.
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