Effect of 0.2% chlorhexidine on microbial and fungal contamination of dental unit waterlines

Raha Habib Agahi, Maryam Alsadat Hashemipour, Mahsa Kalantari, Amin Ayatollah-Mosavi, Hossein Aghassi


Background: It is known that dental unit waterline can be a source of infection. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effi cacy of a mouthwash, chlorhexidine, in controlling microbial and fungal contamination of dental unit waterlines.
Materials and Methods: In the present experimental study, the water in high-speed handpieces and air/water syringes of 35 dental units in a dental school was investigated microbiologically. Five of the units and one tap water served as controls; 100-200-mL water samples were collected aseptically in sterile containers in the morning after a 2-min purge. Water reservoir bottles were emptied and 50 mL of 0.2% chlorhexidine mouthwash was introduced into the tank. Then the water syringe was used to fl ush the waterline until the pink-colored chlorhexidine was observed to fl ow from the water syringe. Before the next day’s session and before the students used the unit, two water samples from the water syringe and water turbine was collected. The samples were transferred to the laboratory. After 48 h at 37°C, the microbial colonies were counted. The number of these colonies was evaluated using colony forming unit CFU. Data were analyzed with Mann — Whitney U test and SPSS 13.5 statistical program. The statistical signifi cance was defi ned at P ≤ 0.05.
Results: All 35 units were contaminated before chlorhexidine use; no contamination was detected after adding chlorhexidine to the waterlines of the units. After week 1, 28 of the 30 treated dental unit waterlines (DUWLs) had values of CFU/mL less than 200.
Conclusion: The present study showed that the use of chlorhexidine could reduce microbial counts in dental unit waterlines.
Key Words: Antibacterial, antifungal, chlorhexidine, infection control, dental

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