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Public Health DentistryEnd 11-6-2013





Infection Prevention and Safety

State oral health programs have a shared responsibility for the safe delivery of oral health care. ASTDD is partnering with the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) to link states to technical assistance, educational materials, information on policy development and other resources on infection prevention and safety.

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In The News Summer 2013

  • The US Preventive Services Task Force has issued a Recommendation Statement on screening for HIV. The guidelines call for the screening of adolescents and adults ages 15 to 65 who are not known to be at increased risk for HIV infection.
  • About 3 million Americans have hepatitis C. Most are baby boomers or people born from 1945-1965. Baby boomers are 5 times more likely to have hepatitis C. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people born during these years talk to their doctor about getting tested. Click here for further information.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) says that hundreds of millions of infections could be prevented if health-care professionals, patients and their families, wash their hands with alcohol-based rub or soap and water before and after touching patients and their surroundings.
  • Current data from the CDC suggests that hospitals have cut their incidence of invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in half since 2005, but the decline in community-associated MRSA infections has been much less. Click here to learn more.
  • US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin MD has officially endorsed community water fluoridation as "one of the most effective choices communities can make to prevent health problems while actually improving the oral health of their citizens."
  • To avoid giving a false sense of security to people who are allergic to natural rubber latex, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending that manufacturers of FDA-regulated medical products stop using statements on labels such as "latex-free" or "does not contain latex." There is also an open comment period for draft guidance.
  • The CDC has released a new fact sheet regarding tuberculosis in the US.
  • Be sure to bookmark, The Internet's HIV/AIDS Oral Healthcare Resource.

For further information about Infection Prevention and Safety Guidelines, Education and Training, Policies and Other Resources see the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention.


A non-profit organization, OSAP is a unique group of dental practitioners, allied healthcare workers, industry representatives, and other interested persons with a collective mission to promote infection control and related science-based health and safety policies and practices. OSAP supports this commitment to dental workers and the public through quality education and information dissemination. OSAP is a trusted source of information for dental educators, consultants, clinicians, researchers and policy makers that provides timely updates, advanced education, innovative training tools, referenced answers to vexing infection control questions and proven strategies to address compliance challenges. Its checklists, issue foci and position papers provide practical, scientifically sound information and recommendations on specific issues like H1N1, dental unit water quality, "green" infection control, instrument processing, surface asepsis, percutaneous injuries, and much more.

Examples of some of the tools include:

OSAP Infection Control Considerations for Dental Services in Sites Using Portable Equipment or Mobile Vans - Site Analysis

OSAP Infection Control Checklist for Dental Programs Using Mobile Vans or Portable Dental Equipment


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Other Safety Resources

Other safety issues include ergonomics, eye protection, use of visible light cure units, noise control, handling of dental mercury, ventilation, nitrous oxide, radiation from dental x-rays, etc.

American Dental Association
ADA resources on infection control

Association of State & Territorial Dental Directors
ASTDD and OSAP are working cooperatively to integrate infection control and safety throughout ASTDD's policies, best practices and other resources. Click HERE to see the implementation plan for this integration process.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC has a worker health and safety webpage
See also CDC Emergency Response Guide that recently was updated

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Numerous resources and a searchable database

OSAP Emergency Preparedness Issue Toolkit
A collection of emergency preparedness resources and information

Safety and Health Topics for Dentistry from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
OSHA standards and directives related to dentistry

Safety Net Dental Clinic Manual, Chapter 4, Section VIII
Numerous resources that apply to dental and other healthcare settings

USAF Dental Evaluation and Consultation Service (DECS)
Numerous resources that apply to dental and other healthcare settings  

Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective This health literacy resource from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is an11-part Toolkit that provides a detailed and comprehensive set of guidelines to help you make written material in printed formats easier for people to read, understand, and use.

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