In support of National Children’s Dental Health Month and the 10 anniversary of “Give Kids a Smile” day, DUX Dental donated 550 Bib-Eze disposal bib holders that were used at pediatric dental clinics held around the country this month. This year marked the tenth anniversary of the American Dental Association’s (ADA) “Give Kids a Smile” day, a program that helps children get the dental care they desperately need and raise awareness that children deserve a better health care system that addresses their dental health.
“We are pleased to support National Children’s Dental Health Month and Give Kids a Smile day,” said Paul Porteous, CEO and president of DUX Dental. “Our support of pediatric dental health continues year round through product donations and the development of innovative products that address the special needs of kids.”
DUX Dental manufactures and markets a number of products tailored for children’s dental needs. The company’s lead-free children’s x-ray aprons and Bib-Eze disposal bib holders address two increasing health concerns for children in the dental office.
Lead-free X-ray Aprons Increase Comfort and Protection for Kids
One risk for children at the dentist office is radiation exposure from inadequate protection during dental x-rays. Although there is no specific research indicating a correlation between thyroid cancer and dental x-rays, according to the American Cancer Society exposure to radiation is a proven risk factor for thyroid cancer. Children who have been exposed to radiation or receive head or neck radiation treatments in childhood are also at increased risk factor for thyroid cancer, more so than adults who have been exposed to the same levels of radiation. The use of x-ray aprons with built-in thyroid collars serve as a preventative measure and are imperative to shielding the thyroid from unnecessary radiation during dental x-rays.
DUX Dental offers an innovative lead-free x-ray apron with a built-in thyroid collar specifically for children. The built-in thyroid collar minimizes the thyroid’s exposure to “scatter radiation” during the oral x-rays that children typically receive annually starting at three years old and throughout childhood. The DUX Dental children’s x-ray apron is also sized specifically for children and its’ lead-free design is 30 percent lighter than leaded aprons, while offering the same level of protection as leaded aprons.
“One key to encouraging dental health among children is to make the experience at the dentist office more pleasant and less scary. We also want to help pediatric dentists create the safest dental environment for their patients. Our lead-free x-ray apron is less intimidating for kids and is more comfortable while delivering protection from harmful radiation,” said Porteous.
Children Susceptible to Cross-Contamination from Infectious Bacteria Present on Bib Holders
The ADA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed and released infection control recommendations in 1993, later updated in 2003, specifically for dentistry. Those guidelines resulted in great improvements in dental infection control and the recommended procedures are now routine at dentist offices, such as the use of latex gloves and the sterilization of unwrapped instruments. Yet, research shows that bib holders, the chains or rubber tubing used to secure the patient’s protective bib, are often overlooked in the sterilization of dental equipment.
More than three separate studies have found unacceptable levels of microbial contamination on dental bib holders, including pseudomonas, E. coli and S. aureus (the most common cause of staph infection). Pediatric dental patients are more susceptible to these contaminates and can benefit from the use of disposable bib holders like DUX Dental’s Bib-Eze.
A study by Noel Kelsch, RDHAP, a national infection control columnist, Registered Dental Hygienist and former President of the California Dental Hygienists’ Association, found that on average dental bib chains had five times the levels of viable bacteria and fungus than the limit established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for safe drinking water (500 CFU/mL). Disposable clips and holders opened fresh for each patient were free from contaminants and posed no cross-contamination threats.
Bacteria from unsterilized bib holders can enter the body when a patient touches the bib holder or their neck after a dental visit, and then rubs an eye or touches their mouth. Cross-contamination can occur:
- when a bib chain is splattered with saliva, plaque, blood and spray from the mouth.
- when a bib chain catches onto hair and accumulate with the wearer’s sweat, make-up and neck acne.
- if the dental worker applies a dirty bib chain with their gloved hands before the examination or cleaning.
“Although the instruments and equipment in the dental office are sterilized or protected by a single-use disposable barrier, the bib chain is frequently forgotten in this process,” say Dr. Robert Frare D.M.D. and Dr. Mary M. Frare, practicing dentists in Voorhees, N.J. “In order to be completely safe for patients, bib chains need to be thoroughly sterilized between each patient or replaced with disposable ones. This is of significant importance for kids whose immune systems are more susceptible to bacteria from cross-contamination.” Drs. Frare hosted a “Give Kids a Smile” dental health clinic on Feb. 3rd at their practice Compassionate Dental Care. They provided free dental services to children who are uninsured and used Bib-Eze disposable bib holders on each patient.
Made from lightweight, elasticized fiber, Bib-Eze bib holders are more comfortable for the patient since they are not cold on the neck, have no sharp edges and stretch to fit. Self-adhesive ends secure the one-time-use holder to any bib and are easy to remove for disposal.