Posted by: Eco-Dentistry Association | March 11, 2014

Top Ways to Green Your Spring Cleaning!

ImageWhew!  We made it through this winter, finally.  As the days grow longer and the Sun brightly shines, we start to notice those dirty baseboards and disorganized closets.  Which can only mean one thing: it’s time for Spring Cleaning!

Here are our top tips to keep it clean and green this Spring:

  • Open Wide.  Windows that is.  Letting in fresh air and using sunlight to air out musty, closed up spaces is both free and effective.
  • Creatively Reuse. Before tossing out an old bookcase or your collection of glass jars, think about re-purposing items to give them a second life, like using see-through jars to organize art or hardware supplies.
  • Cut it up.  Why buy paper towels or cleaning rags, when we’re sure you’ve got a collection of old t-shirts and socks lying around that could make perfect clean up rags.
  • DIY. While there are many wonderful green, cleaning products on the market now, sometimes it’s best and most cost-effective to make your own.  Distilled vinegar is an amazing cleaner and toothpaste makes a great stain remover.
  • Break it down. Deciding to thoroughly clean your whole living space in one weekend can be daunting.  Make a plan to address one room, or even one area in a room, like bedroom closets, each cleaning day.
  • Pass it on.  One person’s trash is another’s treasure.  Consider donating items you can’t or don’t use any longer to a homeless shelter or church.
  • Be water smart.  Don’t leave the water running when cleaning; instead, fill a sink or bucket with water and dip your rags in as you go.
  • Sort it out.  When approaching a room, make several piles, one for stuff you want to keep, one for items that can be donated, one for recyclables, and another, hopefully your smallest pile, for items that will end up in landfill.
Posted by: Eco-Dentistry Association | March 5, 2014

Patients love Dr. Andie Pearson’s High-Tech Green Office!

While attending the Chicago Midwinter Meeting, we were able to sit down with Dr. Andie Pearson. Dr. Pearson is a new Eco-Dentistry Association member from Illinois and shared some of her thoughts about her eco friendly dental office and the future of green dentistry.

andi pearsonTell me a little about yourself and what inspired you to be a leader in green dentistry.
My name is Andie Pearson and I have been in practice for 23 years. For 22 years I have been a biocompatibility dentist and I am a Craniosacral therapist.  I am very sensitive to the environment, so when I got out of dental school and began to start my practice I needed to work in an environment that was comfortable and wouldn’t make me sick. I worked hard to create a safe, clean space – both physically and emotionally for my patients and staff. I wanted non-toxic materials to be used, to protect the environment, and be kind to my patients.  Those considerations helped me create a green dental office.

What is the most unexpected benefit of having a green dental office?
Aside from the positive legacy that I am leaving for my children, I am happy that I am helping shift the view of dentistry. Patients aren’t as afraid to come to the dentist! I have patients that travel 3 hours round trip to dental appointments.  Hearing patients say “I look forward to coming to the dentist!” makes me feel like I’m doing my part to shift the industry for the better.

What green initiative are you most proud of?
My office is powered by 100% wind energy. I had the opportunity to pay for 20% wind energy and I took it up a notch. I chose to purchase 100% wind energy because it’s better for the planet.  We have bamboo flooring, no VOC carpets, no VOC paint and skylights that let in natural light.  We also don’t use glutaraldehyde, so the air quality in my office is much better.

How have your patients responded to your green initiatives?
They have come to expect it now! I have been doing it so long and my patients know that when given the choice, I will do what’s best for them and the planet. I am constantly looking for ways to do better – in my materials, office and continuing education.

If there was only one thing to tell you colleagues to help them go green, what would it be?
Go digital – get as paperless as possible and make sure you recycle everything else. Digital patient charting, digital patient reminders and digital x-rays reduce a lot of avoidable waste and is better for patients and the planet.

Do you believe that high – tech, green dentistry is the dentistry of the future?
I believe that green dentistry is the dentistry of the future for a lot of reasons. Science will eventually run parallel with green improvements, such as digital equipment. Whether dentists chose to be green or not, if they purchase digital equipment, they will have taken green steps. Improvements in technology will be clean and green out of function.  Eventually, there will be no separation between green and technology.

Posted by: Eco-Dentistry Association | February 18, 2014

Wisdom 3.0 – Taking it to the Teeth

Red head breathing“Why are you here?” I asked the man sitting at a conference table with a humble sign bearing only the Ford Motor Company logo. “Our Chairman spoke here last year and we came back to learn how mindfulness can help our people become more productive.”

Oh really! Ford at a “Wisdom 2.0”conference exploring the intersection of technology, business and wisdom traditions held in, wait for it, San Francisco? Yet here they were, ready to learn from speakers like Tony Hseih of Zappos, Eckhart Tolle, Roshi Joan Halifax, and a delegation of Googlers.

Yes the conference delivered its promise of connectivity, creativity, and the criticality of cultivating human-to-human contact in the digital age.  But the big take away was Arianna Huffington’s challenge that maybe it was time to stop the talking and start the doing – taking Wisdom 2.0 up a notch, to Wisdom 3.0.

I saw Wisdom 3.0 flowering when Tony Hseih spoke passionately about his work in downtown Las Vegas, investing in small businesses and community building, and his vision that Vegas of all places could become a model for other cities craving revitalization.  I learned that a real life U.S. Congressman, Tim Ryan of Ohio, is pushing legislation to bring mindfulness training to kids and teachers.  And that a fifteen year old girl got a toxic ingredient removed from a sports drink in record time using the crowd-sourcing site Change.org.

This gave me hope for the success of my work transforming dentistry, where the word “wisdom” usually conjures up the right of passage called getting your wisdom teeth pulled. I considered my journey from successful trial lawyer in a fancy 34th floor corner office to social entrepreneur and standard-bearer in a global movement embodying sustainable business practices and whole person wellness.

I reflected on how by changing the world’s two million dentists, we are creating a ripple of change touching every person that sits in that dentist’s chair.  I thought about how dentists, who suffer from one of the highest suicide rates of any profession, benefit from stress-reducing modalities like breathing mindfully, and movements that untangle their bodies after a day hunched over other people’s mouths.  I considered how dentist, patient and planetary wellbeing are supported when dental practices are toxin-free and utilizing the best technology has to offer.

I left Wisdom 2.0 grateful to be part of a community of change-makers doing both the work of internal transformation, and taking it to the streets, or in my case, the teeth.  Onward to Wisdom 3.0!

_MG_0701Ina Pockrass is the visionary leader of the green dentistry movement. She has been honored as one of the Top 25 Women in Dentistry, and is an attorney and marketing expert. Ina co-created the country’s first green dental office in 2003 and co-founded the Eco-Dentistry Association in 2008. She writes and speaks internationally about green dentistry. 

 

Posted by: Eco-Dentistry Association | February 11, 2014

Hearts and Flowers: Make it a Green Valentine’s Day!

Ah, the symbols of Valentine’s Day.  Flowers lovingly chosen for your sweetheart, candles lit, sumptuous chocolates by the bedside.  It’s “go” time!

More than 200 million roses are produced for Valentine’s Day, most grown conventionally, which means with pesticides, and often with light energy from fossil fuels, not the sun.  In the US alone, we spend more than $1.6 billion on Valentine chocolates, but nearly all of that chocolate comes from places that were once home to rainforests.

So how can you keep your Valentine giving sweet and sustainable?  Here are some tips:

valentines flowers

  • Be Kissable!  Want to “get lucky” this Valentine’s Day?  Know that one of the biggest turn-offs to romance is bad breath.  So be sure to brush those teeth, floss and scrape your tongue before slipping into something more “comfortable.”
  • Choose organic, local flowers.  Select buds that are blooming where you live, and from florists that operate in your community.  Look for those grown without pesticides so when your sweetheart takes a big inhale of their fragrance, she or he isn’t also breathing in a chemical designed to kill bugs.
  • Look for Fair Trade, Organic Chocolate.   Chocolates bearing this designation signify that your sweets were grown to support, not destroy the cultures and communities that produce chocolate.  Organic chocolate is also free from chemicals and pesticides, which when you think about it, makes the sweet even sweeter.
  • Look for Cards Made from Recycled Paper.  Almost 200 million Valentine’s Day cards are bought each year.  Look for those made from recycled paper and printed using sustainable methods and both the Earth and your sweetheart will feel the love.
  • Choose Soy or Beeswax Candles. Everyone looks better by candlelight, right?  But if you’re burning most candles, your bedroom is being infused with petroleum fumes, which is not exactly romantic.  Soy and beeswax candles with lead-free wicks are free from petroleum-based ingredients.
  • Think Outside the Box.  Why not make your own Valentine’s Day tradition?  Offer your beloved a bubble bath and massage, or a sensuous dinner, made with fresh, local ingredients.  Or create your own Valentine’s Day card by hand, infusing it with your personal brand of love.

Here’s to love!

Posted by: Eco-Dentistry Association | February 5, 2014

Say YES to Digital Dental X-Rays!

Digital x-rays are a great example of eco-friendly dentistry in action! High tech dentistry is green dentistry, and digital x-rays are better than conventional x-rays for both people and the environment.

Annually, U.S. dental offices alone are estimated to contribute 4.8 million lead foils and 28 million liters of toxic x-ray fixer to our environment through the use of conventional x-rays. YUCK! A green dentist uses digital x-rays to reduce waste and pollution and radiation exposure for patients.

We invited Australia’s Churchill Eco Dental Care, an EDA member office that’s going through the GreenDOC™ certification program, to give us their perspective on why digital is better.

What are digital x-rays and are they really different?

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Digital x-rays are very different from what has been used traditionally by dentists. Technological development has allowed for great reduction in radiation exposure to patients. Depending on where in the mouth x-rays are taken, digital images expose patients to between 75% and 90% less radiation.  Digital x-rays are also Earth-friendly because they don’t use lead foils or polluting development solutions.

Let’s compare radiation exposure from digital dental x-rays and other exposures.

The average radiation exposure people receive from normal activities like flying and walking in the sun is 3.6 millisieverts (mSv) a year. A typical dental x-ray gives out only 0.003 mSv, which is equivalent to less than 1 day of sitting in the sun or a single two-hour flight on an airplane. The maximum radiation exposure for a worker in America is 50 mSv a year, which would be like having 16,000 digital dental x-rays, which of course far exceeds the number of x-rays anyone would receive.

The benefits of dental x-rays far outweigh their risks.  By having regular x-rays according to the schedule set by your dentist, many dental problems can be diagnosed sooner, which often means easier and more cost effective treatment options.

ImageChurchill Eco Dental Care opened surgery doors in 2008 with the aim of providing the best care for our patients. We have a deep passion in dentistry and pride ourselves on being the best provider to patients, the best business to our employees and the best organization to our founders Dr. David Le and Dr. Thomas Vo.

Posted by: Eco-Dentistry Association | January 28, 2014

Why See a Green Dentist?

Hey, we’ve all got teeth, right?  But why consider a green dentist?  And what’s green dentistry anyway?

Here’s all you need to know:

Man and woman happy

  1. Digital everything!  That means the latest in high-tech equipment, supplies and processes.  Text message appointment confirmations?  Check. E-mail receipts?  Check.  Latest and greatest techniques?  Check.
  2. Digital x-rays.  Green dental offices prefer digital x-rays because they expose you to 75 to 90% LESS radiation, and use no toxic x-ray development chemicals or lead foils.  Better for you AND the Earth.
  3. Whole Body Health.  You’re not just a tooth walking through the door and green dentists are committed to helping you achieve optimal, overall well-being.
  4. Forget the toxics.  Green dental offices seek out materials and processes that are as free from toxins as possible.  So they choose high-tech steam sterilization for instruments, not chemicals, and dental materials that work with your body.
  5. Fewer disposables.  Green dental offices choose reusable items wherever possible, and do their best to reduce trash that’s sent to our over-flowing landfills.  Look for clinicians to wear lab coats made of fabric, not paper from our depleting forests.
  6. Responsible Business Practices.  Green dental offices take extra steps to make sure materials are properly recycled, water isn’t wasted, and energy is conserved.

Find one of our green dentist members and see for yourself how good oral health and planetary stewardship is a match made in heaven.

Posted by: Eco-Dentistry Association | January 22, 2014

Read Your Labels!

Formaldehyde in baby shampoo? Hormone disrupters in toothpaste?  Not possible you say.  Think again.

Woman reading labelMany mainstream personal care products contain a toxic soup of chemicals that are not only difficult to pronounce, but may do more harm than good.

Take the array of products from a company that symbolizes purity: Johnson & Johnson.

Yet its products are far from pure, even though many are used on our most vulnerable humans: babies.  In response to persistent pressure from consumers, Johnson & Johnson has recently removed quaternium-15, a formaldehyde releasing preservative, and 1,4 dioxane, a solvent linked to cancer, from all of its products.

While a laudable step, J&J remains in the challenging position of both defending ingredients it has used in its products for decades, while simultaneously reformulating them to eliminate ingredients of concern.

And what about toothpaste?  One ingredient that has garnered the attention of consumers is an anti-bacterial agent found in some toothpaste brands: triclosan.  Both the EPA and FDA have noted the concerns about the chemical even though conclusive data about its health effects on humans is not yet available.  Nonetheless, the EPA regulates and classifies triclosan as a pesticide.

We don’t know about you, but we’d rather not expose our sensitive oral tissues to pesticides or other harmful-sounding chemicals so we avoid products that contain them.  Seek toothpastes that use ingredients you can understand, like peppermint oil, silica, or the natural sweetener stevia.  Avoid those with titanium dioxide, a chemical that’s used to make wall paint white, or sodium lauryl sulfate, a bubbling agent that causes mouth sores in some people.

Bottom line: make it a practice to read the labels on your personal care products.  By purchasing natural products, you are voting for products that are good for you with the most powerful weapon you have: your wallet.

Posted by: Eco-Dentistry Association | January 15, 2014

Ready to Get Healthier in 2014? Start with your Mouth!

Uh oh, it’s only mid-January and your New Year’s Resolutions are already slipping?  No worries, here are easy tips to get your whole body on the road to well being.

Another toothbrush womanGet a new one.  The New Year is the perfect time to change your toothbrush, especially if you’ve had a cold or flu.  Otherwise, you’ll just keep re-infecting yourself.   And please chose a new brush made of eco-friendly materials like bamboo and be sure to recycle the old toothbrush to reduce our landfill.

Drink up.  Water that is.  After all that spiked Holiday punch, it’s important to get back into the healthy habit of drinking good old H2O.  Adults need at least 1 liter a day.

Get into the flossing habit.  Have trouble being honest about how often you floss?  You’re not alone. Flossing is not only good for your oral health, but it’s essential to your overall health because it helps keep harmful bacteria out of your bloodstream.

Eat Healthy.  The New Year is all about better eating habits.  Say no to the white foods, like refined grains and sugars.  Give a resounding yes to everything green and fresh.  Crunchy vegetables and fruit are great for whole body health.

Check in for a Check-up.  Don’t put off that dental visit another day!  Knowledge is power and getting the truth about the condition of your oral health is the first step in taking control of your oral well being.   Choose a green dentist and your body and the planet will thank you.

Here’s to a healthy, happy 2014!  Keep smiling!

Posted by: Eco-Dentistry Association | January 7, 2014

Get White Teeth and Stay Green

Looking to refresh your smile for 2014?

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If you want to whiten and brighten your teeth but look for products that are safe for both your health and the environment, consider Sinsational Smile. This whitening system is available in the US and can get your teeth their natural whitest, in just 20 minutes in the dental chair. Sinsational Smile is the first teeth whitening product to earn the coveted Eco Dentistry Association “Accepted Seal”.

The EDA awarded the “Accepted Seal” to Sinsational Smile not only because its ingredients have been determined to be GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe), requiring no warnings, but because of the extraordinary environmental efforts of the company behind this product.

Here are some things we love about Sinsational Smile:

  1. Sinsational Smile avoids chemical compounds of concern to dental consumers (No BPAs, titanium dioxide, sodium lauryl sulfate or other harmful chemicals.)
  2. They are also the first whitening product to use recyclable silicone trays (BPA-free) in their system.
  3. Its manufacturing facilities are located in a LEED certified building, which means they use the best green building methods and materials.
  4. The manufacturing facilities are powered by solar panels installed on their roof.

The Sinsational Smile system works by having your hygienist or dental assistant apply a special hydrogen peroxide gel to your teeth and then illuminating the teeth with a LED lamp while you relax. After less than half an hour, your smile is ready to dazzle.

Don’t wait! Start the New Year with the whiter smile you’ve always wanted!

Posted by: Eco-Dentistry Association | December 17, 2013

Tips for a Planet-Friendly Holiday

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Spreading holiday cheer is good for the soul and it can be lighter on the planet.  Here are our top picks for making the Earth the star of your holiday list.

  1. Reuse it.  In the US, 4 million tons of wrapping paper is discarded during the holidays alone. Did you know we could save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields if every family wrapped just 3 presents with reused materials? Check your cupboards for paper and bags that can be spruced up and used again and you’ll reduce our overcrowded landfills.
  2. Dispose of it. Don’t let the excitement of the holidays throw you off your recycling and composting habits. Remember: those sweater boxes and wine bottles are recyclable.  And maybe soon we’ll all have the option to return packaging to the stores where we bought items, like they do in Sweden.
  3. Plant it. If having a tree is a part of your holiday tradition, choose a tree that can be replanted when the season ends and you’ll keep the natural oxygen-producing qualities of that tree alive for all of us.
  4. Time it.  When the house is full of guests, the hot water heater can take a beating.  Limit showers to 3 minutes by putting an egg timer in the bathroom and you’ll save at least 2 gallons of water for each minute that a shower is cut short.
  5. Brush it.  Ok, we know you’re going to eat candy canes and popcorn, but don’t forget your good oral care habits over the holidays.  Grab a stash of eco-friendly toothbrushes for the guest bathroom and keep everyone smiling.  And remember to turn off the water when you brush and you’ll save 90 glasses of water a day.
  6. Turn it down.  Lowering a thermostat even 1 degree can reduce a home’s energy consumption by as much as 3%.
  7. Recharge it.  Tis the season for stuff that needs batteries.  Choose rechargeable batteries and you’ll help keep these hazardous materials out of landfills and save money.
  8. Light it up.  LED holiday lights use up to 90% less energy than conventional lights.  And because they don’t heat up the way old-fashioned lights do, they help reduce the risk of fire.
  9. Wash it.  Holidays mean lots of dishes.  Forget virgin paper and plastic plates for entertaining and choose reusable options that can be washed in the dishwasher.  Most energy efficient models use less than 5 gallons of water for a complete cycle, as opposed to 2 gallons per minute for washing dishes by hand.
  10. Make it.  Hand-made items like jewelry, organic jams and jellies, or note-cards made from reclaimed paper are more meaningful and more cost-effective.
  11. Sanitize it. We all need to protect ourselves from germs this holiday and while hand washing does the job, it uses water, soap and usually, paper towels.  Keep it green by choosing hand-sanitizer and putting it on the counter for all to use.

Let’s celebrate!

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