Importance of education on infection control and on the hand skin health of dental personnel

Dent Med Probl. 2022 Jul-Sep;59(3):373-379. doi: 10.17219/dmp/142563.


Background: Hand hygiene plays a significant role in infection control, yet it is performed correctly only 40% of the time. The daily use of soap, disinfectants and gloves can also affect hand skin health. Periodical educational interventions regarding hand hygiene can improve infection control.

Objectives: The current study aimed to identify the existing hand hygiene practices applied by dental personnel, to evaluate knowledge about infection control, to determine the adverse effects of hand hygiene on the skin, and to assess the effectiveness of the educational interventions concerning these topics.

Material and methods: This study was carried out at the Vilnius University Hospital Žalgiris Clinic, Lithuania. At the 1st stage, data was collected by using a self-administered questionnaire. At the 2nd stage, dental personnel underwent an educational intervention and the surveys were redistributed to determine any changes in the level of knowledge.

Results: In most cases, dental workers performed hand hygiene when it was needed. The proper method was selected by 53.4% on average. The main mistakes were the excessive use of soap and only occasional use of a disinfectant. The reported hand skin side effects included dryness (68.8%) and fissures (37.5%). Only half (50.5%) of the staff regularly used emollients. After the educational intervention, there was a 24.9% improvement in hand hygiene compliance.

Conclusions: The correct procedure for hand hygiene was reported by half of the participants. Washing hands with soap was the preferable choice, while alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) was avoided. Skin problems were reported by more than 70% of the respondents. Training had a positive impact on the hand hygiene knowledge of the dental personnel.

Keywords: dentistry; education; hand hygiene; infection control; skin care.

MeSH terms

  • Disinfectants*
  • Emollients
  • Hand Disinfection* / methods
  • Humans
  • Infection Control
  • Soaps / adverse effects


  • Disinfectants
  • Emollients
  • Soaps