“Sustainable oral healthcare is the provision of equitable, ethical, high-quality, inclusive and safe care with appropriate, effective and efficient use of resources. Through this, the healthcare opportunities of current and future generations are respected and protected by actively minimising negative environmental impacts” 1

In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Cochrane Oral Health is committed to supporting the dental community to improve sustainability of oral health care. We aim to raise awareness of the sustainability of interventions within all our Cochrane Reviews, as follows.

1. In the Discussion section of each review, we will include information about sustainability under an additional subheading: ‘Sustainability of the intervention(s)’.
2. We will undertake a scoping search to determine whether there are any life cycle assessments or other sustainability evaluations about the interventions. If we identify any relevant reports, we will briefly summarise their findings and provide citations to signpost the reader to further information.
3. In the absence of any healthcare sustainability science research, we will briefly note whether the intervention has the potential to impact sustainability in dentistry. In line with the three pillars of sustainability (environmental, social, financial), we will consider the following domains for each intervention2: travel (for staff and patients); sustainable procurement (“'whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organisation, but also to society and the economy, while minimising damage to the environment”); waste; energy efficiency; education; biodiversity (e.g. designing built environments to support flora and fauna); effective prevention. 

It is not our intention to provide a comprehensive assessment of the interventions, as this is beyond the scope of our Cochrane Reviews. In addition, we are not aware of any comprehensive life cycle inventory database of medical products from which to draw information. Therefore, we acknowledge that the information that we provide in each review will be very limited. However, we encourage readers to explore other resources on this topic to understand, learn and promote sustainable actions in their practice.

We brought this policy into action in April 2024. We anticipate more growth in knowledge about the sustainability of interventions in dentistry and we will review this policy in April 2025 at the latest. We welcome any feedback on this policy.

1. Martin, N., Mulligan, S., Shellard, I.J. and Hatton, P.V., 2022. Consensus on Environmentally Sustainable Oral Healthcare: A Joint Stakeholder Statement. York: White Rose University Press. DOI: https://
2. Clinical guidelines for environmental sustainability in dentistry. Trinity College Dublin, NHS England, and the Office of the Chief Dental Officer England, January 2023. (