Researchers at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and the Forsyth Institute published a study today that found that a significant proportion of dental bib clips harbored bacteria from the patient, dental clinician and the environment even after the clips had undergone standard disinfection procedures in a hygiene clinic.
Although the majority of the thousands of bacteria found on the bib clips immediately after treatment were adequately eliminated through the disinfection procedure, the researchers found that 40% of the bib clips tested post-disinfection retained one or more aerobic bacteria, which can survive and grow in oxygenated environments. They found that 70% of bib clips tested post-disinfection retained one or more anaerobic bacteria, which do not live or grow in the presence of oxygen.The full study titled "Comprehensive Analysis of Aerobic and Anaerobic Bacteria Found on Dental Bib Clips at Hygiene Clinic" will be published as a supplement to the April issue of Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry, one of the leading dental journals in the U.S., and is now available for download at http://www.dentalbibclipbacteria.com.
Additionally, after disinfection, nine clips (45%) retained at least one anaerobic bacterial isolate from skin."The results of our analysis show that there is indeed a risk of cross-contamination from dental bib clips. The previous patient's oral bacteria could potentially still be on the clip and the new patient has a chance of being exposed to infection by using that same bib clip," said Dr. Paster. "It is important to the clinician and the patient that the dental environment be as sterile as possible; thus it's concerning that we found bacteria on the clips after disinfection. This situation can be avoided by thoroughly sterilizing the clips between each patient or by using disposable bib holders."
Bacteria can also be transferred from the gloved hands of dental practitioners to the clips prior to- or during the patient's treatment.
Bacteria can be transferred from the patient's hands to the clips if the patient touches the clip.
In a previous study published in August 2012 by researchers at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and the Forsyth Institute it was found that 20% to 30% of dental bib clips still harbor aerobic bacterial contaminants even after proper disinfection procedures. Rubber-faced metal bib clips were found to retain more bacteria than bib clips made only of metal immediately after treatment and before disinfection. Four other research reports have found bacterial contamination on dental bib holders, including research conducted by U.S. infection control specialist Dr. John Molinari, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Dentistry Oral Microbiology lab and the University of Witten/Herdecke in Germany.
Visit http://www.dentalbibclipbacteria.com to download a full transcript of the research paper "Comprehensive Analysis of Aerobic and Anaerobic Bacteria Found on Dental Bib Clips at Hygiene Clinic", a supplement to the Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry Volume 34, Number 4, 2013. The authors of the study include: Addy Alt-Holland, BSC, MSC, PhD; Christina M. Murphy, BS; Anne Powers, RDH; Claire L. Kublin, BS; Youjin Natalie Jeong, DMD; Michelle DiMattia; Linh Pham; Angel Park, MS, MPH; Matthew Finkelman, PhD; Maureen Lombard, RDH, MM; James B. Hanley, DMD; Bruce J. Paster, PhD; and Gerard Kugel, DMD, PhD.
About the Forsyth Institute
The Forsyth Institute is the world's leading independent organization dedicated to scientific research and education in oral health and related biomedical sciences. Established in 1910, Forsyth's goal is to lead the discovery, communication and application of breakthroughs in oral health and disease prevention that will significantly improve the health and well-being of the nation and the world. The Forsyth Institute is affiliated with the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. For more information about Forsyth, visit its website at http://www.forsyth.org.
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