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Resources > Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) > Hand HygieneQuestion & Answer

Are Brand X nails considered artificial? Breach of CDC recommendations?

Ask OSAP can provide you with some general information on this topic, and would like to refer you to the following information from the 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry:

Although the relationship between fingernail length and wound infection is unknown, keeping nails short is considered key because the majority of flora on the hands are found under and around the fingernails. Fingernails should be short enough to allow DHCP to thoroughly clean underneath them and prevent glove tears. Sharp nail edges or broken nails are also likely to increase glove failure. Long artificial or natural nails can make donning gloves more difficult and can cause gloves to tear more readily. Hand carriage of gram-negative organisms has been determined to be greater among wearers of artificial nails than among non-wearers, both before and after handwashing. In addition, artificial fingernails or extenders have been epidemiologically implicated in multiple outbreaks involving fungal and bacterial infections in hospital intensive-care units and operating rooms. Freshly applied nail polish on natural nails does not increase the microbial load from periungual skin if fingernails are short; however, chipped nail polish can harbor added bacteria.1

Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings: Basic Expectations for Safe Care further notes:

Complete guidance on how and when hand hygiene should be performed, including recommendations regarding surgical hand antisepsis and artificial nails can be found in the Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings available at http://www.cdc.gov/ mmwr/PDF/rr/rr5116.pdf2

The following Google search may also contain some information of interest:

Fingernails and dental infection control


1) Kohn WG, Collins AS, Cleveland JL, Harte JA, Eklund KJ, Malvitz DM, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guidelines for infection control in dental health-care settings—2003. MMWR Recomm Rep 2003;52(RR-17):1-61. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5217a1.htm Accessed on April 24, 2017.

2) US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings: Basic Expectations for Safe Care. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Oral Health; March 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol/pdf/safe-care.pdf Accessed on April 24, 2014.

3) Google.com. Google search using the terms “Fingernails and dental infection control”.
https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=fingernails+and+dental+infection+control Accessed on April 24, 2017.

Last Updated on Thursday, June 17, 2021 02:39 PM