Hygienist fights plastic pollution with sustainable products

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland dental hygienist is not only keeping people’s mouths clean but is also trying to help the environment.

Ingrid Adeogun founded PANGA to combat plastic pollution.

Ingrid Adeogun realized a few years ago just how much plastic waste comes from the dental industry. Many research companies show that approximately 1 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States alone. Add in plastic floss, tongue scrapers, toothpaste tubes and more. With this new knowledge, Adeogun decided to do something about it.

“These products are ending up in our landfills, they’re ending up in oceans and waterways and it got my wheels turning in my head,” she said.

Those wheels led the dental hygienist to found PANGA — a company that sells sustainable dental hygiene products, including bamboo toothbrushes, compostable floss and recyclable tongue scrapers.  

“The bamboo handle can bio-degrade quickly,” Adeogun explained. “If it’s in the right environment it can biodegrade in a couple of months.”

Panga supplies several local dentist offices with their products and Adeogun says an order can range from 500 to 2,000 toothbrushes a month per office. She tells us there are other products similar to hers — however, she thinks her training gives her an edge.

Sustainable toothbrushes, flossers and tongue scrapers are available from PANGA.

“[Other products] either have medium bristles or hard bristles or charcoal-infused bristles,” she said. “As a dental hygienist, I have the insight to know that soft and extra soft bristles are safe for your gums, safe for your enamel.”

PANGA stands for Puerto Rico, Argentina, Nigeria, Germany and America — all places her family is from. Adeogun wants the business to go international, caring for mouths across the planet.

“We hope to expand our product to all of those places and everywhere, that’s my goal.”

Adeogun says PANGA products are in a few local stores and they’ll soon have an annoucement about being in some local grocery chains. For more information about their products, check out their website.

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