Even if the general conception is that dental equipment are regularly disinfected and therefore free from bacteria, a new study may belie this conception. Water lines at the dentist's office are not always completely clean, which makes the dental equipment never clean as well, the study says.
According to a new study published in Water Research, unless there is away to ensure water lines at the dentist's office are free from bacteria all the time, dentists cannot be 100% sure too that they are using clean tools to probe their patients' mouths and teeth. EurekAlert! reported that dental equipment is specifically prone to contamination by bacteria, yeast, and other alarming microbes. The tools go in people's mouths all the time, after all. An earlier study showed that mouth is one of the dirtiest places in the world. It might contain up to around 80 million bacteria alone.
While dentists make sure their tools are disinfected and cleaned after each use, the water they use is questionable. The researchers behind the study analyzed the three disinfectants, Calbenium, Oxygenal 6, and Sterispray, utilized by certain European dentists to control biofilms in dental water to determine which one is clean. Results alarmingly showed that none of the water tested were completely free from bacteria.
"During dental procedures, patients and dentists can be exposed to microorganisms present in the water circulating inside dental units," the lead researcher Dr. Damien Costa, said. "Infections may occur if this potentially microbiologically contaminated water is inhaled or splashed. We wanted to determine the best way to keep dental lines clean and avoid infection."
Unfortunately, the doctor shared that their results proved that none of the disinfectants can completely eradicate bacteria, especially amoebae. "What is most worrying is that none of the disinfectants could kill the amoebae, which means they are still dangerous to patients and dentists even after water lines have been sterilized," she added.