Compliance with infection control recommendations in South African dental practices: a review of studies published between 1990 and 2007

Int Dent J. 2010 Jun;60(3):181-9.


In a country where the prevalence of infectious diseases ranks among the highest in the world, infection control in health care facilities should not be debatable. This unfortunately does not seem to be the case in South African oral health care facilities. This study is a systematic review of available literature on the adherence of South African oral health care professionals to infection control recommendations. Nine focus areas were investigated with regard to infection control practices: knowledge of infectious occupational hazards; personal hygiene and care of hands; correct application of personal protective equipment; use of environmental barriers and disposable items; sterilisation (recirculation) of instruments and handpieces; disinfection (surfaces) and sound housekeeping; management of waste disposal; quality control of dental unit waterlines, biofilms and water; as well as other special considerations. Although South African studies are limited and most of them relied on self-reports, which could have resulted in a serious overestimation of compliance, even these studies indicate serious shortcomings with regard to infection control practices in oral health care facilities in this country. This review highlights opportunity for improvement. Furthermore, it identifies possibilities for future research in infection control and also opportunities to improve infection control education for all oral health care workers in the country.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Disinfection
  • Education, Dental
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control, Dental*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists'*
  • Protective Clothing
  • South Africa
  • Sterilization