Attitudes of general dental practitioners in Europe to the microbial risk associated with dental unit water systems

J. J. Kamma, D. J. Bradshaw, M. R. Fulford, Phillip Marsh, E. Frandsen, E. Østergaard, A. J. Schel, J. M. Ten Cate, W. R. Moorer, A. Mavridou, G. Mandilara, L. Stoesser, S. Kneist, R. Araujo, N. Contreras, P. Goroncy-Bermes, F. Burke, D. O'Mullane, M. O'Sullivan, Jimmy T. Walker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Dental Unit Water Systems (DUWS) are used in dental practices to provide water for cooling of dental equipment and irrigation of the oral cavity. However, they have been demonstrated to be contaminated with micro-organisms. There are currently no European Union (EU) Commission guidelines for the microbial quality of water discharged by DUWS. This study was part of an EU research programme to investigate the microbial contamination of DUWS in general dental practice (GDP) in the UK, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland, Greece and Spain. Objective: To undertake a questionnaire survey on the type of DUWS in use and determine the attitude of GDPs to the risk of microbial infection from DUWS. Materials and Methods: The questionnaire was written and translated into the language of each country before being posted to each participating dentist. Dentists were asked to complete the questionnaire survey and return it by post. Results and conclusions: The major findings were that the majority of dentists did not clean, disinfect or determine the microbial load of their DUWS, and that dentists would welcome regular monitoring and advice on maintaining their DUWS; the introduction of guidelines; and recommendations on controlling the microbial load of DUWS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-195
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Dental Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006


  • Attitudes
  • Cross-infection
  • Dental unit water system
  • Dentists
  • Disinfection
  • Microbial risk


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