Can The Local Dental Office Protect Our Food Supply?
As shoppers stroll through the grocery store, aisle after aisle, finally reaching the fresh fish department, few connect their salmon or Tilapia with their last dental cleaning. But the two do interconnect, and the practices upheld at the dental office, as with the factory and warehouse, can make a significant impact on patient, employee, and environmental health and safety. To understand how these two are so deeply connected, we need to begin at the watershed game. This area of land divides the water flowing naturally from the clouds in the form of rain to water bodies - from rivers and streams to fresh water lakes and creeks. Once rainwater hits the ground, it begins its journey downstream through uninhabited, rural, and urbanized areas. As it meanders, it also gathers many of the pollutants and debris left behind by people and businesses, carrying this into the same lakes and oceans where recreational and commercial fishermen work so diligently to bring food to our local grocery stores – and to our dinner tables. The greener our practices upstream, the cleaner our waters remain downstream – where the fish reside. How Ultrasonic Cleaning Machines Reduce Your Carbon Footprint One way dental practices have been minimizing their environmental impact for decades is through the use of ultrasonic dental cleaning for surgical instruments. This eco-friendly and highly efficient technology uses a process called sonication, thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting surgical instruments within an ultrasonic cleaning machine. The sonication process of transmitting high frequency sound waves into a liquid medium, ideally water, produces a mechanical action called cavitation - this is the superpower in ultrasonic dental cleaning. Instead of relying on harsh chemicals, which could eventually be discarded in a manner that negatively impacts our environment and ecosystem, ultrasonic cleaning machines and its cavitation employ fresh water along with naturally occurring pressure differentials, which generates microscopic sonochemical bubbles that scour every inch of the ultrasonic bath unleashing tremendous shock waves at temperatures twice that of the sun’s surface and pressures as high as 60,000 psi. The ultrasonic dental cleaning process dislodges the most stealth of clinging debris and destroys bacteria. To take this one step further, environmentally friendly surfactant solutions are added to the process to collect dislodged debris caused by sonication’s breakdown of cohesion and adhesion forces. Traditional surfactant, or soap, solutions create hydrophobic molecules in solution that will attract debris and repel water. These solutions effectively speed up the cleaning process, and when the cycle is complete, the bath may be filtered so debris-encapsulating molecules are efficiently removed from the solution and clean water returns to the tank to start the process over again. The Benefits of Sonication Ultrasonic dental cleaning is one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable processes on the market, reusing water and eliminating the need for harmful chemicals. With the integration of a filtration system, the ultrasonic bath solution is sonicated to destroy bacteria and filtered to remove bio-debris, later returned as clean water that is used over and over. When the tank is emptied, only clean water is disposed of down the drain so dental practices minimize their environmental impact. While green benefits are certainly compelling, sonication is also extremely easy, efficient, and fast.
In fact, Sonix 4 ultrasonic cleaning machines are operated in just three simple steps: equipment load, single-button sonication, and equipment unload. Ultrasonic cleaning can also keep dental office processes as efficient as possible, mechanically cleaning without chemicals, sanitizing, and disinfecting at a microscopic level with pressures upward of 60,000 psi and temperatures twice that of the surface of the sun. This occurs while consuming no more energy than a couple of light bulbs and in just 10 minutes or less. The next time you stroll through your grocery aisle or dine at a popular seafood restaurant, remember the watershed game and the many ways in which the practices and processes at a dental office can impact the health and sustainability of our planet along with those inhabiting it. Tom Ray is President and CEO of Sonix 4, a manufacturer and pioneer of ultrasonic devices and reactors for precision cleaning, ultrasonic water treatment, food and beverage processing, and emulsification. During his three-decade-long career, Tom has facilitated technical innovations in disease and infection prevention while simultaneously raising the bar in environmental, health, and safety standards.