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Int J Dent Hyg. 2003 Aug;1(3):138-42.

Antiviral activity of alcohol for surface disinfection.

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Department of Cariology, Endodontology, Pedodontology, Academic Center for Dentistry, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


Bacteria and viruses from the patient's mouth travel with dental splatter and spills. A surface disinfectant should possess antiviral activity as well as antibacterial action. Because of frequent and 'open' application in the dental office, such a disinfectant should be non-toxic, non-allergenic and safe for the hygienist. It now appears that high-concentration alcohol mixtures (i.e. 80% ethanol + 5% isopropanol) are not only excellent antibacterials, but quickly inactivate HIV as well as hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses. Compared to alternative surface disinfectants, use of high-concentration alcohol for the spray-wipe-spray method of surface disinfection in dentistry appears safe and efficient. However, dried matter should be wiped and hydrated first.

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