Prevention is better than cure

01 December 2011
2 min read
Volume 27 · Issue 11

After the huge advances made in the field of infection control during the 20th century, which resulted in the extinction of smallpox, tuberculosis and typhoid in western societies, it was assumed by many in the medical establishment that most strains of the microorganisms responsible for communicable diseases would eventually be rendered harmless to humans. Many optimists believed that it would only be a matter of decades before the common diseases were genetic or related to lifestyle or ageing.

Unfortunately the ability of pathogens to develop a resistance to antibiotics and sterile environments was underestimated. Worrying examples abound from the propensity of bacteria and viruses to survive in apparently clean surroundings.

The ability of bacteria and viruses to return in an even more virulent form, makes it crucial that dental professionals do not become complacent and remain vigilant about their hygiene protocols. Prevention is much better than cure in infection control. Full sterilisation of the dentist's hands and the surgery's surfaces and equipment is, of course, the best way to preclude the need for a course of antibiotic treatment.

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