The sustainability and environmental impact is problematic when disposing of the plastic, non-biodegradeable toothbrushes. Airlines need to start looking for an alternative as oral health is important, and increases a passenger’s sense of well-being, but the world is moving in an ever-increasingly greener direction.
Ensymm have created a fully pre-coated, biodegradable toothbrush, compact and light enough to be included in passenger amenity kits. The Amenities team caught up with the masterminds behind this revolutionary product.
Dr Daryoush Taghavi is a dentist with considerable experience, who began the process of development through concern of his own impact through his surgeries.
“Oral health has a long history and there are records of oral care methods from around 6000 b.c. developed by the ancient Egyptians. These can be found in translated papyrus manuscripts in which Egyptian physicians describe dental problems such as tooth decay and toothache. Around 500-300b.c. Aristotle the Greek philosopher, and Hypocrites, who is also known as the “father of medicine” describe theoretical and practical methods of treating teeth and gums, such as tooth extraction and oral tissue cauterization.
As we know today oral health has a direct effect of the whole human body. It is proven that a healthy mouth may help you to decrease your risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke and diabetes. The case for good oral hygiene keeps getting stronger, and the importance of oral health and its connection to overall health and wellbeing must be better understood. So providing an efficient oral- dental care on airplanes with its very extreme environment is our duty.
Have you ever noticed that your skin, eyes and mouth feels really dry on a flight? Dehydration is the reason for that, and is why you should drink plenty of water whilst in the air. In addition to the dehydration and dry mouth we know that the plane food and snacks the airlines offer are very tempting but they also can leave you with that gritty feeling of plaque for the remainder of 12 hours journey. This combination of dehydration and food means brushing your teeth is increasingly important on board. Ensymm biodegradable toothpaste pre-coated toothbrushes are a modern and well thought out way to keep your teeth and our environment clean.”
Dr Pedram Dehdari, Managing Director of Ensymm adds: “Dr Taghavi is an old study friend of mine, and was always asking me about my work with shrimp shell where we process it to chitosan, a natural antibacterial and fungal material.
He told me that he was concerned about the environmental impact of disposable, plastic toothbrushes, such as those offered at dental surgeries, or onboard aircraft. He began lessening his impact by offering bamboo toothbrushes at his surgery for his patients. I felt that, although this was a good step, it would be much better to remove the plastic bristle from the brush, as well as the small plastic cap and foil and in same time make the teeth clean handling in Airplane faster,easier and lighter.
Throughout this discussion he then asked if it would be possible to coat the toothbrushes in the antibacterial product Chitosan, and so we started to develop a 100% biodegradeable toothbrush. In partnership with Dr. Bishnu in PEIUand Dr Taghavi we replaced the bristles with bioplastic, removed the cap and foil, and tried various combinations of toothpaste gel mixed with Chitosan. From this development we packaged it in a 100% recyclable box, and created the completely biodegradeable, wet&clean bamboo toothbrush.
We were then able to find the right, high-quality producer in China to make the prototype to promote to airlines, hotels and other industry figures. Hopefully this will open doors, and allow airlines to make the choice to give passengers a green and clean feeling!”
This is an exciting development within the sustainability market. As more and more people are trying to find a way to reduce their carbon footprint, airlines are being pushed to make new choices in their amenity offerings. There is just one catch, airlines are going to have to advance their amenity budgets. This technology is not currently available for the 6 -10 cents price set aside in most dental kit amenity budgets. However, with the world turning more green, and passenger awareness of sustainable products increasing, now is the time for airlines to invest more in their products, lessen their environmental impact, and pave the way to a greener future of air travel.
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