Q: Which of the following has the MOST risk for cross-contamination?
(A). Bar soap
(B). Hand sanitizer
(C). Liquid hand soap
(D). Hands-free water faucets
Infection control is extremely important in clinical dental care. As you can see in the picture, a bar soap does not help in minimizing cross-contamination. In fact, it may be a surface that transmits bacteria or other contaminants. In dental and medical settings, it is best to use a liquid soap that can be dispensed without touching the container. A touch or hands-free faucet that is activated by foot can also help minimize cross-contamination.
Answer: (A). Bar soap
Learn more for the dental hygiene boards
Within the chapter on “Infection control” for the Dental hygiene national board exams prep (NBDHE, NDHCE) we have at StudentRDH, we have some good bullet point information about handwashing. Here is a portion of the content:
- Per the CDC guidelines, wash hands for at least 15 seconds (reference HERE).
- Note that surgical handwashing requires 2-6 minutes.
- Bar soaps should be avoided as it can serve as a surface for contamination.
- CDC states that the most important measure for preventing the spread of pathogens is effective hand washing.
- The use of gloves is not a substitute for routine hand washing.
- Hands must be washed before and after the use of gloves, and between
- Vigorously apply plain soap and use towels to dry hands.
To continue, we did some more research. Here is an abstract form a research paper titled Microbial contamination of in use bar soap in dental clinics.
“Bar soap from 18 different dental clinics were investigated for microbial contamination, while it was “in-use”. Of the 32 samples obtained from the bar soap, 100% yielded positive culture. A total of 8 different genera of organisms were isolated. Each bar soap was found to harbor 2-5 different genera of micro organisms. Heavily used soap had more micro organisms compared to less used soap. The microbial load of the “in-use” bar soap constituted a mixed flora of gram positive, gram negative, aerobes, anaerobes, and fungi. The results indicate that the bar soap under “in-use” condition is a reservoir of microorganisms and handwashing with such a soap may lead to spread of infection. Resource found at:
It is safe to say that we should avoid bar soap in the dental office. Was this helpful? Have another wonderful day. Success is getting closer and closer! If you need any help with the dental hygiene boards, see our FAQs section about the NBDHE and NDHCE.
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