A study from researchers at the University of Sheffield has sought to examine how the general public perceives the push for sustainability within the dental profession and to better understand what compromises will be accepted in the name of environmentally friendly dentistry.
Data regarding the participants’ views about sustainable dentistry, as well as demographic data and information about the participants’ overall oral health, was collected between August 2020 and February 2021. In total, 344 adults responded to the survey.
Overall, the researchers found that participants responded quite positively to sustainable dentistry and were “moderately willing to compromise time and convenience”. They were somewhat likely to agree to pay more and receive potentially less durable dental treatment if it meant that the treatment would be more environmentally conscious. Respondents were least likely to accept compromises regarding the appearance of their teeth or their oral health status, whereas those having better self-rated oral health were more likely to view sustainable dentistry in a positive light.
Older respondents were less likely to want to compromise their time and convenience than younger respondents, whereas women displayed more positive attitudes regarding sustainable dentistry than men did.
In their discussion, the authors recognised a number of limitations regarding their study, including the relative homogeneity of respondents, the lack of measuring household income or socio-economic status and the focus on participants’ willingness to make compromises rather than on their actual behaviour.
The study titled ‘Exploring attitudes towards more sustainable dentistry among adults living in the UK’, was published online in the British Dental Journal.