Would you drink muddy water? Eat food covered in dirt? Of course you wouldn’t! But how much thought do you give to the quality of the air you breathe?
It’s easy to take breathing clean air for granted. In fact, it’s something we usually don’t think about at all – unless there’s a serious problem. Remember last summer when forest fires were burning in the Gorge and all around Portland? During that time, our area had some of the worst air quality in the entire country.
When there are smoke and ash, or other pollutants in the air, they can be easy to see. But did you know you might be overlooking an even bigger risk? Believe it or not, even the seemingly clean air you breathe indoors can be absolutely full of carcinogens and potentially toxic chemicals.
In today’s post, we’ll review some of the hidden health hazards that you might find in the air you breathe and talk about the investment we’ve made at Blodgett Dental Care to improve the air quality in our office.
What exactly is in the air we breathe?
- Dust and dirt – Did you know that an average home produces nearly 40 pounds of airborne dust and dirt every year?
- Skin cells – The next time you’re watching a sunbeam, think about this: Over 80% of the material catching the light is likely to be dead skin cells!
- Allergens – While Portland’s air is clean, our allergen levels can be nearly off the charts, especially during spring and summer.
- Mold, bacteria, fungus & viruses – Dust and dirt are visible to the naked eye, but they only make up 10% of pollutants in the air. The other 90% includes tiny organisms like mold – common throughout the year in Portland and a leading cause of respiratory distress.
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – Perfumes, air fresheners, and other man-made chemicals aren’t natural! Also known as VOCs, these chemical compounds can make breathing difficult and cause systemic illness.
Did you know: The Willamette Valley is the grass seed capital of the world. It’s true! From Eugene to Portland, the Willamette Valley is home to some of the highest concentrations of allergens in the entire country. Pollen and other allergens stress the body, leading to increased risk of infection and disease.
What happens when we breathe in something other than clean air?
Our bodies are amazing!
We have many natural defenses against dangerous particles in the air. The hairs in our nose and our mucous membranes are very effective at filtering out larger dust particles and debris. But breathing in potentially toxic materials adds stress to our bodies. This can lead to health problems in our respiratory systems and throughout our bodies.
Our immune systems– when working properly– fight off most common bacteria and viruses. But when weakened by disease or stress, our immune systems aren’t as efficient and we’re more susceptible to disease. It’s a vicious cycle that can begin with breathing polluted air.
According to the World Health Organization, as many as 3 MILLION people die from the effects of air pollution every year.
What’s wrong with sneezing?
Sneezing and coughing are natural defenses against air pollution, allergens, and irritants. But they’re also representative of an immune response that shows your body is being stressed. Many people will simply treat the symptom – the coughing and sneezing.
It’s important to look beyond the symptoms to find the root cause of the issue. For example, in the Portland area, black mold is especially common in older homes and can cause lifelong health problems.
If you overlook the root cause of breathing problems, your whole body will pay the price.
Clean air at the dentist office?
When you imagine polluted air, you might be thinking of things like a smoggy city or smoke from forest fires. But what about indoors? Did you know that medical centers, especially dentist offices can be full of particulates that are potentially damaging to your health?
When a dentist uses a high-speed drill or spray of water, invisible bits of material can become airborne and float around the office. These materials are known as bio-aerosols. While you can’t see them, they are there and can cause many of the same problems as other more visible pollutants. In some cases, the effects are even worse, especially when dentists use mercury fillings and other toxins.
DON’T FORGET: Drs. Kelly Blodgett and Bryan Neish are two of the few SMART-certified Mercury-Free dentists in Portland. They have invested in equipment and technology that allow him to safely remove mercury amalgam fillings.
Blodgett Dental Care’s investment in clean air
At Blodgett Dental Care, we’re always looking for ways to invest in our patients’ health and whole-body wellness. Recently, we’ve added a Surgical Clean Air Purifier to our office and all of our treatment areas. They operate 24/7 to assure that our team and our guests breathe only clean, germ-free air.
The air in our office is absolutely safe and pure. It’s amazing!
Surgically Clean Air Purifiers have been proven by independent lab testing (RTI) to remove 99% of indoor air pollutants (ie. bacteria, fungus, and viruses). In practice, more than a thousand Dental Offices, Hospitals, Dental Labs and Commercial Offices are implementing the new school of thought on the use of our standalone air purifiers.
These new purifiers offer a medical-grade 6-stage filtration system (far beyond what’s found in common commercial and residential air filters). It’s a powerful tool that protects the patients at our practice from illness, infection, disease, and discomfort.
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Keep learning about the dangers of unclean air
- Bad Indoor Air: The Silent Killer – Learn how poor indoor air quality can make you feel worse and reduce productivity
- The Risks of Indoor Air Pollution – This research from the Belgian government shows how asthma and other forms of respiratory distress can be directly connected to mold
- Portland’s Toxic Air: What You Need to Know – The Oregonian investigates elevated levels of airborne toxic metals in Portland neighborhoods