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Oral Health Buzz

Infection Control Information and Tips: More Than Just Toothbrushing

Elizabeth SanFilippo

Infection control is important both in the home and when you visit your dentist. It's about far more than just toothbrushing. In fact, it's about keeping any bacteria at bay that can harm your teeth and your overall health.

In The Dentist's Office

According to the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has specific rules that all dentists must follow to avoid the spread of any infection or disease.

Well before you even step into a dentist's office, they're working behind the scenes to keep you healthy per CDC requirements. The dentist office staff sterilizes instruments, properly disposes of materials (such as gauze pads and needles) and cleans every possible surface from the dental chair to the handles on the drawers and doors. Protective covers over things like the dentist chair are even replaced after every patient.

Controlling infections and the spread of bacteria is also the reason why everyone, from the dentist to the dental hygienist, wears masks over their mouths, gloves on their hands and glasses over their eyes during your appointments.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that following these CDC mandates are incredibly important as they will help prevent the spread of infection between patients and dentists.

In The Home

Another aspect of infection control should be handled in your home. While bacteria are normal throughout the house, there are ways you can stop the spread of germs, particularly when it comes time to take care of your teeth. To stop the spread of infection and germs, follow these tips:

  • Wash Your Hands: Follow the rule your mother always taught you to prevent sickness. The first step in fighting germs is aways washing your hands.
  • Use Colgate Mouthwash: Rinsing out your mouth after toothbrushing does more than just reduce the incidence of bacteria in your mouth.
  • Clean Your Mouthguard: If you have a mouthguard, rinse it with cool water after every use and brush it with toothpaste.
  • Keep Your Toilet Lid Down When Flushing: The water can have an aerosol effect and droplets may spray up to eight feet: they may be landing on your toothbrush as well as your sink!
  • Replace Your Toothbrush: Dentists typically recommend you replace your toothbrush every three months. But if you've been sick, replace your toothbrush right away. If you have gum disease, replace the toothbrush even more often: every four to six weeks.

If you notice you have bad breath, be sure to visit your dentist, as it may be sign of an infection or other health issue. But if you follow all these tips, then your chances of infection and spreading germs are greatly reduced.

Learn more about infection control in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

Source: Colgate

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