Hohenstein studies germs in dentists’ work clothing in Germany

According to paragraph 36 of the German Infection Protection Act (IfSG), dentists are obliged to equip themselves and their employees with mouth and nose protection, protective goggles and gloves as well as with the traditional professional clothing (tunics), says Hohenstein.

While gloves and masks have to be disposed of after every patient, clothing is not washed until the end of the day in many practices, and then only in a normal household washing machine. The small amounts of laundry make it difficult for many dental practices to find a commercial laundry operation with monitored washing procedures. The Hohenstein Institute in Bönnigheim decided to study what types of germs are lurking on those tunics after a day's work and how can these be reliably returned to a hygienically sound condition. The study concluded that it is especially important to actually reach water temperatures of at least 60 °C and to check this regularly, particularly with older machines. In addition, suitable washing additives (all-purpose washing detergent and hygiene conditioner) have to be used in sufficient quantities. If they check the efficiency of the washing procedure at regular intervals, dental practices and patients are on the safe side, concludes the report. This, dentist can accomplish with special germ carrying cloths developed by Hohenstein. These bioindicators loaded with bacteria or fungi are added to the laundry at regular intervals, after which the Hohenstein microbiological laboratory determines whether the test pathogens were reliably destroyed. The self-tests can be enclosed with the required hygiene plan and displayed in the practice to demonstrate the efficiency of the hygiene measures towards authorities and patients. Read more