Keeping all patients, clinical and nonclinical personnel, and the community safe from harm has never been more important, or more in focus. Before, during and after treatment, patients trust their dentist and dental hygienist to provide care in a safe manner. That’s where infection control comes into play.

Many patient care items are disposable, and providing each patient with a fresh, disposable bib has become the norm; but it’s time to look more critically at bib chains and bib clips. There is new research again highlighting the potential for cross-contamination and infection from reusable bib clips. A recent study from Tufts University, which followed studies by Kelsch, Molinari and others with similar results, has found bacteria as more than a threat for cross-contamination on bib chains and clips.

What’s more, is that not only were the bib clips significantly contaminated after patient use, some were still contaminated after wipe disinfection with 70% of rubber-faced bib clips retaining bacteria after proper disinfection. The type of treatment provided (more exposure to oral pathogens or less) also influenced the amount of contamination. Echoed in other studies, residual contamination following wipe disinfection was at a low level and most microorganisms found were nonpathogenic. However, used bib clips have also been found in these studies with potentially pathogenic microorganisms.

The simple answer? Single-use, disposable bib clips prevent the risk of cross-contamination and the indirect transfer of microorganisms from used bib clips. And at less cost than a disinfecting wipe, it also makes sense economically.

Disposable bib clips – another aspect of safe care.

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