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Infection Control Information and Tips: More Than Just Toothbrushing

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Some things in life we can control. And some things we can't. How about traffic? Nope. The weather? Uh-uh. Or toddlers? No chance. But when it comes to controlling infections — yes, we can. And that starts by getting rid of and preventing the spread of bacteria. Bacteria can lead to inflammation and then eventually, infection. And that's just no good. Sure, toothbrushing helps your mouth, but there are various steps you and your dentist should put into practice to control infections at home and in their office. Prevent any infections in your future with these tips below.

How To Control Infections In Your Dentist's Office

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every time you walk from the waiting room into the dentist's chair, a series of rules must be followed to stop disease or infection from spreading. Per CDC guidelines, every dentist office must:

  • Replace dentist chair protective coverings after every patient
  • Replace gloves after every patient
  • Wear a new mask over their nose and mouth with every patient
  • Clean any glasses or face shields after every patient
  • Sterilize instruments after every patient
  • Dispose of any materials (gauze, needles, etc.) after every patient
  • Clean and sanitize all surfaces a patient or employee make come into contact with

Following these guidelines is crucial to preventing the spread of infection between your dental team and yourself.

How To Control Infections In Your Home

When you're at home, however, the power to control infections is in your hands. Removing all bacteria and germs is next to impossible. Still, there are various ways you can stop their spread, especially in the bathroom and in your mouth. You can control mouth infections from spreading when you:

  • Wash Your Hands:
    • Probably the most important rule when it comes to cleanliness and overall hygiene. You touch everything with your hands, so make sure they're clean, scrubbed, and healthy.
  • Use Mouthwash:
    • Consider adding antibacterial mouthwash to your toothbrushing and flossing routine. By doing so, you're eliminating even more germs and the chance for infection.
  • Replace Your Toothbrush:
    • If you're healthy, replace it every 3 months.
    • If you have gum disease, replace it every 4-6 weeks.
    • If you've been sick, replace it immediately.
  • Clean Your Mouthguard:
    • Every morning, brush your mouthguard with toothpaste and a gentle soft toothbrush and rinse your mouthguard with cold water to wash away the germs.
  • Clean The Kitchen and Surrounding Areas:
    • Clean all the kitchen surfaces in your home as well as other high-traffic locations in your home.
  • Clean Your Bedroom:
    • Wash your bedroom sheets each week, dust the furniture and bathroom surfaces with an antibacterial cleaner in this area.
  • Clean Your Bathroom:
    • Every bathroom layout is a little different, be safe and put the lid down before flushing. Bacteria from the toilet can enter the atmosphere.

Your dentist's office should keep your health top of mind and make sure your visits are as clean as possible. But it's you who has control at home. Implement these tips into your oral hygiene routine now, and you won't have to play damage control later.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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