Margaret Black considers what consumers are looking for.
As the years go on, the topic of environmental protection continues to make headlines. In 2022, the UK’s annual average temperature surpassed 10 degrees, making it the warmest year on record. Evidently, our way of living is no longer sustainable, with calls being made to businesses, sectors and individuals to make crucial changes for the welfare of the planet.
Fortunately, the consumer perspective has seen a paradigm shift, with many individuals now seeking a greener way of life. Industries such as dentistry have likewise recognised the importance of making fundamental changes to their products and materials. On a local level, many dental practices have endeavoured to make their facilities more environmentally conscious. Patients keen to make a positive impact are likely to value a dental practice that makes an effort.
As pressure continues to rise for more sustainable practises, the dental team play a key role in helping patients make safe, informed switches that don’t compromise their oral health.
A snapshot of consumer behaviour
UK consumers have become more aware of how they can reduce their environmental impact. Compared to 2021, last year saw an increase of people adopting a more sustainable lifestyle: according to Deloitte, 75 per cent of consumers recycled/composted household waste, 64 per cent limited single-use plastic consumption, and 40 per cent opted for more environmentally-conscious brands. Following the catastrophic energy and cost-of-living crises, many people undoubtedly made more mindful efforts to limit their energy and water consumption as well. However, news headlines did note that due to the rise in costs, some consumers may still opt for cheaper products over sustainable, yet inevitably more expensive alternatives.
Cost can be a barrier to investing in better options, whether that be for products that encompass clothing, hygiene, beauty or healthcare. Nonetheless, it’s clear that the notion of sustainability has become more widespread. The Deloitte survey noted that 24 per cent of consumers would pay more for products that had sustainable packaging and that the sustainable and environmental ethics and values of the business were important when making a purchase. When it comes to healthcare products, society has seen a shift to more ‘natural’ and/or ‘organic’ branding and ingredients. Many brands have recognised and sought to meet the demand for products that are effective with naturally-derived ingredients, with a company ethos that is transparent and progressive. Sustainability in the fashion and beauty industries has become increasingly trendy, too.
With regards to dental products, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and interdental cleaning items, the need to be more eco-friendly has gained traction, as have cruelty-free and vegan credentials. The dental market is under pressure to not only ensure that products meet this criterion, but are still effective in protecting oral health, which ultimately is the priority. However, the impact of dentistry on the planet cannot be ignored – it’s thought that approximately 300 million plastic toothpaste tubes are thrown away every year in the UK, for instance. As such, consumers need to find the balance between cost-effectiveness, sustainability and quality, to ensure they can make better decisions while not compromising their health. And there are plenty of accessible, cost-effective options available on the market today, ranging from bamboo toothbrushes to recyclable electric toothbrush heads and dentifrices that contain natural ingredients and eco-friendly packaging. The dental team play a notable role by recommending sustainable and safe products to patients, aiding them when making greener decisions.
For example, recommend the Arm & Hammer 100 per cent Natural Baking Soda Toothpaste range, which includes two solutions for gum protection and tooth whitening. Both contain baking soda, the all-natural, powerhouse ingredient. Clinically proven to deliver outstanding results, the Arm & Hammer 100 per cent Natural Baking Soda Toothpaste range is an ideal choice for patients looking to protect their oral health, without damaging the planet. This is because the carton, tube and cap are all 100 per cent recyclable, with a cruelty-free and vegan-friendly formula!
Small changes add up
Tackling environmental issues is a monumental task, and it has long been stressed that changes must be made on a local and global scale to ensure the planet’s longevity. Fortunately, consumer behaviour is inching closer towards a more sustainable mindset.
The dental team can play their part by not only making changes to their businesses and workflows but also recommending clinically supported solutions that are more environmentally friendly. This way, patients can take small steps to live a more conscious lifestyle while protecting their oral health.
References available on request.