Hepatitis is a disease of concern, and is of three types, namely A, B & C. HBV and HCV can be transmitted by skin prick with infected, contaminated needles or through accidental inoculation of small quantities of blood during dental procedures.
HBV & HCV are a major cause of liver cirrhosis & liver cancer, hence can cause both acute & chronic diseases. The initial warning symptoms includes jaundice, light colored poop, persistent fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea & vomiting. Symptoms may not show up until 1 to 6 months after getting the virus. About one third of the people however remain completely asymptomatic & only find out through a blood test.
There is no cure for Hepatitis C or B. There are however several treatments that can help and manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of long term health problems such as cirrhosis. In addition blood tests have to be done every six months to monitor the viral load. For HB, the vaccine is available. It’s most commonly administrated in 2 or 3 injections over a course of 6 months. All newborn babies should get vaccinated, so should people who come in contact with infected blood or body fluids such as dentists & doctors. For Hepatitis C however, there’s no vaccine available. To help avoiding the virus, one should make sure
Not to share personal items like razor.
Not to share needles/syringes when injecting drugs.
Be careful if you get a tattoo, manicure or body piercing.
Dentists have to be particularly careful & should follow standard precautions e.g. gloves, masks & protective eyewear, whenever there is danger of contact with such patients. A dentist should however follow these protocols by considering each & every patient as a potential carrier of hepatitis. The dentist usually acquires the virus through a cut in finger contaminated by the patient’s blood or saliva. Hence they are at a great risk of exposure because of their various encounters involving the use and disposal of sharp instruments. Infections can also be acquired by the use of aerosols. Research has demonstrated that pre-procedural oral rinses with antiseptic mouth washes produced quite a reduction in air borne contaminants. Post Exposure Prophylaxis In spite of following the standard protocols, if a dentist still faces an accidental exposure, a mandatory protocol PEP is implemented in a six steps procedure
1. Treatment of the site of exposure. The site of exposure should be washed as soon as possible with soap and water only. Eyes should be flushed with water and saline solutions.
2. Report and documentations: Complete details should be recorded regarding the time and date of exposure, severity of injury, patient’s medical history and use of antiretroviral therapy.
3. Evaluation of sources
4. Get the patient tested for anti-HBsAg, HCV and HIV antibodies.
5. Control monitoring: – Testing for anti HBs antibodies 1-2 months after the last dose of vaccine.
6. Repeat tests for anti HCV antibodies& ALT 4-6 months after exposure and deal accordingly.
Regular twice a day proper brushing is extremely important for the maintenance of good oral hygiene. It helps to remove plaque, which causes tooth decay and gum diseases. Although most people claim to be taking care of their teeth, they often make mistakes while brushing the teeth. These mistakes must be avoided to maintain a healthy mouth.
1. Not brushing for the right length of time
Teeth should be brushed for approximately 2 minutes. All the surfaces of the teeth should be cleaned, not neglecting any part of the teeth at all.
2. Rinsing mouth with water after brushing
After Spitting out the toothpaste, do not rinse your mouth with a water. That flushes away the fluoride and reduces the efficiency of brushing. Use a mouthwash instead of rinsing.
3. Not changing the tooth brush every 3 months
The toothbrush bristles lose their flexibility and become frayed after being used for a couple of months. So make sure to change it every three months.
4. Not using dental floss
Flossing at least once a day is very important because a toothbrush doesn’t reaches between your teeth to clean the plaque.
5. Not cleaning your tongue
It is important to clean your tongue with the toothbrush or the tongue scraper at the back of the brush. It prevents bad odor & removes bacteria.
6. Using a hard, stiff toothbrush
Always chose a brush with soft or extra soft bristles.
7. Brushing with a wrong angle and with incorrect brushing technique
Brushing should be done gently with light strokes in a circular motion, not back and forth. An electric toothbrush is preferable.
8. Brushing multiple times a day
Brushing more than twice a day actually damages the gums and erodes the enamel. Two times a day, done properly is enough. Other than that, make sure to wait at least 30 minutes after food before you brush your teeth.
Avoiding the above mistakes would considerably improve your dental hygiene oral health.