- Except Drs. Kennedy and Limeback, of course. This was
the story that was on 20/20 last night about the water lines dentists use
in our mouths. They are dirtier than toilet water the report said. Below
that is a comment a dentist made on one of those lists for dentists. I
think dentists should be more concerned about the water they put in our
mouths at their office than the tap water we drink at home - if they really
care about their patients dental health as they claim. _____
- Dirty Dental Water
- 20/20 Finds High Bacteria Levels
- Because of its design, dental equipment holds stagnant
water in which potentially dangerous bacteria develops quickly. (ABCNEWS.com)
- For many of us, going to the dentist is a traumatic experience.
- The poking and drilling that goes on for those few hours
does not make any future visits any more inviting. Now imagine that the
water used during all of those dental procedures was so laden with bacteria,
some experts compare it to pond scum.
- 20/20,s Arnold Diaz wanted to find out how widespread
the problem is. The results of a 20/20 investigation revealed startling
levels of bacteria. Almost 90 percent of the water samples tested did not
meet federal drinking water standards, and two-thirds of them contained
oral bacteria, from the saliva of previous patients.
- The test also compared the water from a number of dentists,
offices with water from public toilets. In nearly every case, it found
that the water from the toilets was cleaner than the water going into the
- Equipment Design Problems
- Why is dental water often full of bacteria? The problem
stems from the design of the water lines that feed the dental tools. Underneath
the chair and tied to all the equipment visible in the office are tubes
that hold the water used in procedures.
- When the instruments are not in use, the water sits inside
the tubing and stagnates. The small number of environmental bacteria naturally
found in the water quickly multiply and clings to the walls of the tubing.
When the equipment is used again, the bacteria can be flushed into the
mouths, of patients.
- Potential Hazards
- Professor Robert Staat, a microbiologist with the University
of Louisville Dental School, tested the water from more than 60 dental
offices across the nation. He says the organisms found in the water are
environmental bacteria and generally not harmful to most people. But, Staat
says, "You shouldn,t be exposed to these levels of bacteria when you,re
in a health-care facility.
- Dr. George Merijohn, a periodontist who has studied and
written about the problem, explains the bacteria can potentially cause
disease, especially to people who have weakened immune systems. Any procedures
like gum surgery, root canals, and tooth extractions are riskier because
they expose the gum line.
- "It,s an open wound, and that,s bone, and that,s
why in medical surgery they never think of using anything but sterile saline
or sterile water, Merijohn says.
- Safe Alternatives
- Even though most patients are unaware of the situation
at their dentist,s office, the American Dental Association has known of
the problem for a number of years. It set a goal to clean up dental water
by the year 2000 and instructed manufacturers to come up with possible
- For example, Merijohn uses sterile tubing and disposable
bags of sterile saline for his dental tools. Improvements have been made
in ultrasonic scalers, used for teeth cleanings, so they can deliver sterile
water. Also on the market are water-line filters, which trap bacteria and
chemical treatments to flush out the lines.
- Still, Merijohn believes most dentists are still using
contaminated water in their offices.
- Ask Your Doctor
- How serious is the risk? ADA spokesman John Molinari
says there is no published evidence of a serious health risk. But are people
getting sick from the bacteria found in dental water? "For healthy
people, I do not have any concern, he says.
- Molinari says we can expect major strides in the process
of updating dental equipment over the next couple of years. In the meantime,
the next time you sit in the dentist,s chair, you may want to ask what
they,re doing to clean their water lines. _____
- American Dental Association Dr. George Merijohn Coalition
for Safe Dental Water
- M. H. GROOMS <MHG7@webtv.net 2-19-00
- Hello Jeff !!!
- Thought you may want to know about a shocking story I
saw on the ABC TV program "20/20" on l8 Feb. 2000.
- The story was about the test done on the water a dentist
will spray in the patient's mouth while working on the teeth.
- Water from 60 dentists was tested. Also, as a point of
reference to contrast/ compare, water was taken from the dentist's commode
to test for levels of bacteria.
- The shocking part was the water in the commode was ALMOST
ALWAYS "cleaner" in terms of the levels of bacteria than the
water being sprayed in a patient's mouth!
- http://abcnews.go.com/. "The Dentist's Dirty Secret."
- Also, look for the list of Web sites that relate to this
story, such as:
- American Dental Association's reaction to the story at
- www.ada.org/prac/position/watertop.html and www.safedentalwater.org/.
- In addition to the above info, the "20/20"
story had other elements - such as the dentist who got sick from inhaling
the mist given off by the water being sprayed into a patient's mouth.
- Another related story was about a lady who got a brain
infection from this "dirty water."
- The problem is the type of equipment the dentist is using
- There is GOOD NEWS!!!
- The above Web sites offer important and useful info to
help people protect themselves from a dentist's possible "dirty, maybe
- ALL the BEST!!!
- SIGHTINGS HOMEPAGE
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