Dental Disinfection and Environmental Decontamination

  • Martin R. Fulford
  • Nikolai R. Stankiewicz
Part of the BDJ Clinician’s Guides book series (BDJCG)


Some microbes can survive for extended periods of time on inanimate surfaces (fomites) with the potential to be picked up and transmitted. Viruses tend to only survive for hours or at most days, but some bacteria can remain viable for weeks to months without a host. MRSA has been found to remain viable for over 70 days and E.coli for 16 months. Persistence of microbes on surfaces including door handles and bedding has been identified as a source of the spread of infections in hospital settings. Environmental contamination in healthcare is not limited to the hospital setting, and dental practices are no exception.

Further Reading

  1. Doll M, Stevens M, Bearman G. Environmental cleaning and disinfection of patient areas. Int J Infect Dis. 2018;67:52–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Kramer A, Schwebke I, Kampf G. How long do nosocomial pathogens persist on inanimate surfaces? A systematic review. BMC Infect Dis. 2006;16(6):130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Quinn MM, Henneberger PK, et al. Cleaning and disinfecting environmental surfaces in health care: toward an integrated framework for infection and occupational illness prevention. Am J Infect Control. 2015;43(5):424–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Rutala WA, Weber DJ. Selection of the ideal disinfectant. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2014;35(7):855–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin R. Fulford
    • 1
  • Nikolai R. Stankiewicz
    • 2
  1. 1.WedmoreUK
  2. 2.East LydfordUK

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