According to a recent release, researchers at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and the Forsyth Institute published a study 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 percent of the bib clips tested post-disinfection retained one or more aerobic bacteria, which can survive and grow in oxygenated environments. The release states that they found that 70 percent 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 and is now available for download.
"The study of bib clips from the hygiene clinic demonstrates that with the current disinfection protocol, specific aerobic and anaerobic bacteria can remain viable on the surfaces of bib clips immediately after disinfection," said Addy Alt-Holland, M.Sc., Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the Department of Endodontics at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and the lead researcher on the study.
"Although actual transmission to patients was not demonstrated, some of the ubiquitous bacteria found may potentially become opportunistic pathogens in appropriate physical conditions, such as in susceptible patients or clinicians."
As indicated in the release, the study analyzed the clips on 20 dental bib holders after they had been used on patients treated in a dental hygiene clinic. The bib clips were sampled for aerobic and anaerobic bacterial contaminants immediately after treatment (post-treatment clips) and again after the clips were cleaned using disinfecting, alcohol-containing wipes (post-disinfection clips) according to the manufacturer instructions and the clinic's disinfection protocol.