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Is bacteria in the water at my dentist's office harmful to my health?

Biofilms are microscopic communities that consist primarily of naturally occurring water bacteria and fungi. They form thin layers on virtually all surfaces, including dental water delivery systems. These common microbes or germs accumulate inside things like showerheads, faucets and fountains, and in the thin tubes used to deliver water in dental treatment.

Scientific reports have not linked illness to water passing through dental waterlines. In our environment, we are exposed to countless germs or bacteria. Yet, exposure to these common microbes does not mean that an individual will get an infection or a disease. However, when a person's immune system is compromised because of age, smoking, heavy drinking, being a transplant or cancer patient or because of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, he or she may have more difficulty fighting off the invading germs. This is why the American Dental Association (ADA) encourages patients who may have weakened immune systems to inform their dentist at the beginning of any treatment. That way, the patient and dentist together can make the right treatment decisions.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.