Output water from dental unit waterlines (DUWLs) may be a potential source of infection for both dental healthcare staff and patients. This study compared the efficacy of different disinfection methods with regard to the water quality and the presence of biofilm in DUWLs. Five dental units operating in a public dental health care setting were selected. The control dental unit had no disinfection system; two were disinfected intermittently with peracetic acid/hydrogen peroxide 0.26% and two underwent continuous disinfection with hydrogen peroxide/silver ions (0.02%) and stabilized chlorine dioxide (0.22%), respectively. After three months of applying the disinfection protocols, continuous disinfection systems were more effective than intermittent systems in reducing the microbial contamination of the water, allowing compliance with the CDC guidelines and the European Council regulatory thresholds for drinking water. P. aeruginosa, Legionella spp, sulphite-reducing Clostridium spores, S. aureus and β-haemolytic streptococci were also absent from units treated with continuous disinfection. The biofilm covering the DUWLs was more extensive, thicker and more friable in the intermittent disinfection dental units than in those with continuous disinfection. Overall, the findings showed that the products used for continuous disinfection of dental unit waterlines showed statistically better results than the intermittent treatment products under the study conditions.