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Microplastics in Dentistry—A Review

Part of the Sustainable Textiles: Production, Processing, Manufacturing & Chemistry book series (STPPMC)

Abstract

Microplastics in the environment have become a public health concern over the past few years. Items of toothpaste and composite restorative materials are the primary dental products that contribute to the microplastic pollution of the environment. In terms of dental origin, toothpaste containing plastic particles <5 mm, form the source of primary microplastics. Secondary microplastics are formed from the resin-based composite restorative materials which degrade within the oral cavity or may be released during the process of finishing and polishing of restorations. At the same time, there is minimal awareness amongst the population regarding the use of microplastics in personal-care products. The prolonged use of toothpaste containing microbeads can cause abrasion of tooth enamel and dentine. The microbeads can get entrapped in the gingival sulcus leading to gingivitis and periodontitis. The resin-based composites used as direct restorative materials, pit and fissure sealants and in CADCAM milling can release monomers like Bisphenol A-glycidyl methacrylate (Bis-GMA) which is a potent environmental hazard as it gets dumped in the landfill. Studies have confirmed the damage to aquatic life caused by microplastics which can lead to the extinction of various aquatic species in future. They also get adsorbed to biotoxins and through the process of bioaccumulation enter the food chain. A few countries have enacted legislation which limits the use of microplastics in health care products. However, many do not impose such strict regulations. Therefore, an educational and regulatory approach toward the use of microplastics is mandatory to control the emerging threat of microplastics to the environment. This chapter is intended to create awareness among the public about the hazardous effects of microplastics in dental care products and promote insights into policymaking.

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Abbreviations

PEMRG:

PlasticsEurope’s Market Research and Statistics Group

BPA:

Bisphenol A

RBC:

Resin-based composites

HEMA:

Hydroxy ethyl methacrylate

TEGDMA:

Triethylene glycol dimethacrylatef

UDMA:

Urethane-dimethacrylate

PMMA:

Poly Methyl Methacrykate

EGDM:

Ethylene glycol dimethacrylate agent

BIS GMA:

Bisphenol A-glycidyl methacrylate

BIS DMA:

Bisphenol A dimethacrylate

WWTP:

Waste water treatment plant

MP:

Microplastic

PE:

Polyethylene

POP:

Persistent Organic Pollutants

PCB:

Polychlorinated biphenyl

MMA:

Methyl methacrylate

UV:

Ultra Violet

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Correspondence to Unnikrishnan Vishnu .

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Chandran, T., Vishnu, U., Warrier, A.K. (2021). Microplastics in Dentistry—A Review. In: Muthu, S.S. (eds) Microplastic Pollution. Sustainable Textiles: Production, Processing, Manufacturing & Chemistry. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-0297-9_6

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