3 MIN READ | Wellness

Dental Unit Waterlines: How to Properly Clean and Maintain Them?

Peter Wallace

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Peter Wallace, (2019, January 19). Dental Unit Waterlines: How to Properly Clean and Maintain Them?. Psychreg on Wellness. https://www.psychreg.org/dental-unit-waterlines/
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In the late 1980s, when the infection control focused their attention on medical professionals, dental unit waterlines began getting the attention of society. They understood that dentistry’s dirty secret lies inside these small units. Unfortunately, many dental offices were using dental water even more contaminated than toilet water.

In 2015, there were reported that 96 kids were infected in two paediatric dentistry in the US. This happened because of contaminated dental unit waterlines. As a result, more professionals started paying attention to this issue. Moreover, it was the main challenge dental professionals faced at that time. 

A few words about dental unit waterlines

The first thing you need to know about them is that they support microbial growth. They are small tubes that usually include carbon. You know that carbon is bacteria’s favourite food.

Why do dental unit waterlines support bacteria growth?

  • They are very small;
  • They have a very slow rate drips;
  • The plastic tubing is hydrophobic;
  • Chlorine can easily be absorbed by the tubing.

Moreover, dental waterlines have a very slow flow rate. To put it simply, they can’t create a river-like flow making biofilm attachment easier.

How to get dental unit waterlines clean?

Though this procedure is not easy, it doesn’t mean it is impossible. You should know that a lot depends on the professionals. If a dental clinic is interested in patients’ safety, they will do their best to properly sterilise the tools. A good clinic should give its customers the best effectively and economically.

To properly clean waterlines, you need to shock them – a simple procedure of using a strong disinfecting agent that will help get rid of all the bacteria. The management team of a good dental clinic understands that shocking waterlines is a mandatory process they simply can’t do without. It allows treatments like straws, liquid drops, tablets or cartridges to work more effectively.

After shocking, professionals also take some other measures such as continuous dental water treatment. Its main goal is to fight bacteria. These treatments are absolutely safe for equipment and patients.

Another crucially important thing you should know about cleaning waterlines is the frequency of this procedure. Simply put, dentists must check their waterlines on an ongoing basis. Statistically, more than 60% of dental practices have one failing waterline. So this means that cleaning is improperly done.

What you shouldn’t do with the dental units

We hope that these recommendations will help improve the quality of your dental services:

  • Never use a dental unit without proper disinfection.
  • Never apply dental tools with the dental unit waterlines that have not been properly cleaned and disinfected. To make sure you do right, you should check the guidelines of the manufacturer where they explain how to properly clean dental handpieces.
  • You shouldn’t use cleaning agents the manufacturer doesn’t recommend. Always check the instructions of the manufacturer where he shares recommendations on how to utilise disinfection. Make sure you use the right agents. Otherwise, material incompatibility may cause structural damage.

How to control the quality of dental water?

Professionals should also pay attention to such an issue as water quality monitoring. In some US states, dental unit waterline testing is mandatory. However, there are still companies that use inexpensive and low-quality products that conduce to the development of bacteria in the dental water.

When using a high-quality water indicator, you can easily control this issue at your dental clinic. Good indicators allow specialists to easily detect the exact type of waterborne bacteria. So if you are greatly concerned about this issue, you need to adhere to the schedule of monitoring your equipment.

If you want to find out more information about dental unit waterlines or how to keep your teeth healthy, it is time to check this article www.naludamagazine.com. Remember that the prevention of oral health problems is the most effective remedy. Make sure you know how to prevent tooth decay and visit your dentist at least three times per year.

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Image credit: Freepik


Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of  Edinburgh. 


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