Julia Hailes MBE

Sustainability Pioneer


Qualms about gold teeth…. (May11)

If you look carefully, you can see my gold tooth
I’ve already got one gold crown and it looks like I’m due for some more.   My worry is that I don’t think they’re the best environmental option – I’m actually rather anti-gold on eco grounds.
Gold mining is one fo the dirtiest industry around, commonly using cyanide, arsenic and mercury.  And the process is hugely wasteful too.  To extract the gold for one wedding ring requires about 20 tonnes of rock and debris being discarded.  It’s estimated that ten thousand times more ore is mined than is refined into gold.   I haven’t worked out how much is needed for a gold crown – perhaps it’s similar to a wedding ring..
If I could specify that the gold used for my teeth comes from recycled sources, I’d feel a bit better.  Apparently, there’s enough of this precious metal already mined to last for at least 50 years.  That makes me wonder why this filthy industry is continues to plunder the land rather than re-use what’s already been extracted – about 2,500 tonnes are mined annually. 80% of this is used for jewellery.
There are other dentistry options but nothing apparently that works as well.  My problem is that I clench my jaws at night and this puts a huge strain on my teeth.  The best long term solution, I’ve been advised is gold.
But there are two compensating factors.  The first is that my boy friend really likes my gold tooth and is keen for me to have more.  And, the second is that I’m going to make sure the gold is recycled when I die – I’m specifying this in my will.   If I’m resomated – see blog I wrote on this – this will be a lot easier than it would be today!

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