Bacteria on Dental Bib Holders

Researchers at the University of Witten/Herdecke in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, released a clinical study indicating that the sterilization protocol for dental bib holders is inconsistent and can result in the presence of germs, microorganisms, and pseudomonas on bib chains and holders. The study examined a total of 30 metal and plastic bib holders and found bacteria present on more than half of them.
“The analyses of the bacterial load showed that 70% of all reusable bib holders were contaminated with germs. The predominant colony types identified were staphylococci and streptococci. But on several bib chains we also found various bacterial rods, pseudomonas, fungi, and other types of cocci,” said the lead investigator and scientific director at the University of Witten/Herdecke, professor Stefan Zimmer, MPHD, PhD. “Although the bacteria found in this study were all nonpathogenic bacteria, in principle reusable bib holders can cross contaminate dental patients.”
The bacteria found on the bib holders in the University of Witten/Herdecke study do not usually cause disease in healthy people, but they can be a threat to immune-suppressed patients, and young children and the elderly who also often have compromised immune systems. Bacteria from an unsterilized bib holder can enter the body when patients touch the bib holder or their neck after a dental visit and then rub their eye or touch their mouth. Cross-contamination can also occur. A number of other studies have shown that infectious bacteria are regularly present on dental bib holders.
(Source: Globe Newswire, March 19, 2012)