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The Elimination of Biofilm in Dental Waterlines Found to Reduce Health Risks

The Elimination of Biofilm in Dental Waterlines Found to Reduce Health Risks in Patients and Practitioners

Aquatic-based biofilms exist abundantly in the dental setting. Advanced research and associated techniques have established the unique structure, the development of, and the formal ecology of these biofilms.

A large portion of the research performed focused on the accumulation of such microorganisms within dental waterlines. These lines are constructed from a flexible type of plastic tubing that contains small bores. The design allows the products to be attached to a water line for the purpose and intent of transporting that water to dental handpieces.

The studies found that these lines typically possessed a vast amount of active biofilm – which is one of the main sources of microbial-based contamination of the units. By eliminating the presence of biofilm in dental unit waterlines, health risks to patients and practitioners is eliminated.

Biofilm Development

Biofilm commonly develops in aqueous environments. Numerous highly-complex processes must take place that involve the transportation of both inorganic and organic molecules and an assortment of cells to the surface of dental waterlines. In addition to biofilm presence in waterlines, other biological substances may be found in the lines.

Examples include pieces of tissue, blood, minerals, and even corrosion stemming from water sources that emit poor water quality. In dental waterlines, biofilms are commonly identified as protozoa, bacteria, and/or fungi. During periods of time in which the water is stagnate within the lines, the biofilm is provided the opportunity to duplicate itself and expand.

Manufacturers of higher quality handpieces have begun to install anti-retraction devices in the handpiece to prevent these contaminants from being sucked back into the fresh water system. There are even more contaminants in the suction system. This is one of the main reasons why dental practitioners should ensure that they consistently utilize a biofilm remover/eliminator product.

Health Risks

One of the main health risks associated with exposure to biofilm in dental waterlines and/or dental handpieces is the transmission of infectious diseases to patients and dental practitioners. Water quality from local municipalities is one of the best starting areas when it comes to preventing biofilm contamination. Unfortunately, it is exceptionally difficult to change the quality of the water that is being transmitted into the dental facility. In order to prevent the proliferation of biofilm in dental waterlines and dental handpieces, a dental practice should always schedule regular use of a dental evacuation system cleaner and, perhaps, a water filtration system.

Studies have indicated that approximately 80% of all dental waterlines and dental handpieces contain infectious biofilm agents – such as Streptococci.

Other microorganisms found in the oral cavity – such as mouth tissue, plaque, saliva, and mucosal-based tissues were also discovered in dental handpieces and dental waterlines. Naturally, all of these substances have the ability to infect those that come in direct contact. A solid disinfectant system and a dental evacuation system cleaner must be utilized on a regular basis and special attention should be paid to the amount of time water is allowed to stagnate in lines.

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