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In brief: What's really growing in face masks; supply chain affects fluoride in some areas

July 15, 2022
Just how quickly do face masks become contaminated with bacteria? Plus, supply chain effects on fluoride in the US, a COVID-caused increase in resistant infections, and more.
Elizabeth S. Leaver, Digital content manager

Your mask may be more contaminated than you think

Surely all clinicians have wondered how long they should really be using their face masks. A recent small study in South Korea to evaluate the contamination on the inner surface of the masks used by clinicians in dental clinics found bacteria belonging to the genera Staphylococcus, Bacillus, and Roseomonas within 10 minutes of mask-wearing, leading researchers to conclude masks should not be worn for more than two hours in a clinical setting.

Supply chain impacts fluoride supply

Amid supply chain issues and cost increases that are causing fluoride shortages in some communities, the American Dental Association and the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors are working together to provide information and guidance. Although shortages are expected to be temporary, they may result in a short-term suspension of community water fluoridation with the organizations agreeing that “innovative strategies must be utilized as current supply chain issues continue to impact all sectors of our economy.”

Pandemic has undone "years of antimicrobial resistance" in US

A new CDC report indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic reversed years of progress against antimicrobial resistance in the US, with resistant hospital-onset infections and deaths both increasing at least 15% during the first year. The CDC said the increase in resistant infections has reversed much of the progress made in infection prevention and control progress over the last decade and that the pandemic “has unmistakably shown us that antimicrobial resistance will not stop if we let down our guard; there is no time to waste.”

The links between psoriatic arthritis and oral health

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the joints. It can also cause fatigue, eye problems, and a higher likelihood of dental issues. Research suggests that periodontitis may play a role in causing or worsening psoriasis, with a 2021 study finding a possible link between the two conditions—specifically, that people with PsA were more likely to have severe stage III gum disease than who don't suffer from it.