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Report: Disposable Bib Holders Eliminate Risk of Bacterial Transmission

Posted on Wednesday, October 9, 2013

OXNARD, CALIF. – AUG. 28, 2013 – A recent report suggests that there are many advantages of using disposable bib holders in the dentist office that benefit both the patient and the dental practice. The report, authored by John A. Molinari, PhD and Peri Nelson, BS,states that the use of disposable bib holders can eliminate the risk of patient-to-patient transmission of bacteria via the bib clip instead of just minimizing it. The report titled “Disposable vs. Reusable Patient Bib Chains: Lowering the ‘YUCK’ Factor” was published in THE DENTAL ADVISOR and is available for download at

“Multiple investigations have found that surfaces in the treatment environment can play a role in transmitting infectious diseases to medical patients. Thus, it’s worth exploring alternative methods, such as replacing traditional bib chains with disposable bib holders, to minimize these risk in the dental setting,” said Dr. Molinari, Director of Infection Control at THE DENTAL ADVISOR.

Although dental bib chains only come into contact with the skin, and are not used in the mouth, the report outlines the reasons bib chains require attention during the infection control process.

- Dental bib chains usually come in contact with the dental patient’s skin while it’s being worn.

- Dental professionals who are providing treatment are frequently touching the bib chain while wearing gloves that have been contaminated with oral fluids from the patient’s mouth.

- Multiple studies published in the last three years have found high concentrations of oral and skin bacteria on bib chains when they weren’t cleaned or disinfected between patients[1].

Research has also shown that even bib chains that are disinfected between patients may still retain bacteria 40 to 70 percent of the time[2].

The report finds that the primary reason to use disposable bib holders is to eliminate the risk of transmitting bacteria from patient to patient via bib holders, not just minimize it. Yet, the authors identify a number of secondary advantages to using bid holders in the dental practice as well:

- Using disposable bib holders saves time otherwise used to clean and disinfect traditional bib chains.

- The cost of disposable bib holders are on par to the cost of purchasing disinfectant sprays and wipes and the time required to use them.

- Replacing disinfectant wipes with disposable bib holders is “green neutral”, as neither item is recyclable.

- Lastly, the use of disposable bib holders in the dental practice promotes office cleanliness.

“After examining the various approaches to decontaminating and re-using bib chain versus using disposable bib holders, we’ve found that using disposable items is a positive addition to a practice’s infection control protocol and likely cost effective too,” added Molinari.

Visit for more research studies about dental bib clips.


[1] RDH Magazine, “Don’t Clip that Crud on Me,” January 2010

[2] Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry, “Comprehensive Analysis of Aerobic and Anaerobic Bacteria Found on Dental Bib Clips at Hygiene Clinic,” April 2013

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