Study: 70 percent of dental bib clips carry bacteria

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PITTSBURGH —

The next time you go to the dentist, you might want to think twice about the bib you’re asked to wear.

A study performed by the Forsythe Institute says up to 70 percent of dental bib clips carry bacteria, even after being disinfected. A previous patient’s oral bacteria could still be on the bib clips when used on a new patient.

“You don’t know who was before you, and if you happen to be immune-compromised or predisposed for disease, there’s a chance you might get infected,” lead researcher Dr. Bruce Paster said.

According to Paster, the only way to kill bacteria is to sterilize the clips using heat, or instead use disposable bib clips or bibs with paper ties.

The American Dental Association’s 72-page set of guidelines on infection control doesn’t specifically reference the use of bib clips.