Commit to a dedicated handwashing routine
National Handwashing Week helps remind us how a simple routine can easily help to reduce the spread of germs. Good hygiene itself is no more important this week than it was last week, but having this opportunity to focus on the importance of handwashing serves as a powerful reminder of how each of us can make a difference in controlling the spread of germs throughout our day.
Having good hygiene and committing to a handwashing routine is important, but in health care and throughout every Aspen Dental practice, it’s especially necessary to the wellbeing of our care teams and patients. Every day, we work to provide knowledge about the transmission of germs, best hygiene practices, and share our commitment with the Smile Wide, Smile Safe Promise. Whether we’re in flu season, combatting COVID-19, or protecting against the many other bacteria and viruses that circulate throughout the year, we know that dental care is essential – and so is your safety.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), washing your hands is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your loved ones against infections. No matter where you are, effective handwashing prevents the spread of germs on surfaces, will help you avoid illness, and help to prevent others from getting sick.
When to wash your hands:
- Before, during, and after preparing or eating food
- Before and after caring for anyone who is ill
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet, changing diapers, or helping a potty training child
- After touching high-touch surfaces, like railings and doorknobs
- After blowing your own nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal or animal waste
- After touching garbage
Five simple handwashing steps:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap
- Lather up! Make sure you get the back of your hands, in between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub for at least 20 seconds
- Rinse off the soap with clean, running water
- Dry your hands with a clean towel
Soap vs. Hand Sanitizer?
Q: What’s the difference between using soap and water, and an alcohol-based sanitizer?
A: The CDC has done a thorough job at defining when it’s important to wash your hands, and has provided clarification on when you can get away with only using a hand sanitizer.
Many disinfectants claim to kill 99.9% of germs on surfaces when used properly, and hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol are effective at reducing germs on skin; however, we know that soap and water still work the hardest to clean the skin and eliminate germs.
Sanitizers can work effectively to reduce the number of germs on your hands throughout the day, but if your hands are actually dirty or greasy, ordinary disinfecting gels and sprays aren’t going to eliminate the build-up.
When soap and water aren’t readily available, such as when you’re entering a store, or disinfecting your hands while on the go, carry a travel-sized disinfecting hand sanitizer with you to help stop the spread of germs and disease.
When you do have access to a clean sink and soap, such as in your own home, use soap and water to keep your skin clean.
Our Commitment to Your Safety
Your safety comes first, and that’s something to smile about. Every Aspen Dental practice location is committed to the highest safety standards. We took proactive steps to add new protocols to our already robust standards that keep our community healthy by creating our Smile Wide, Smile Safe Promise.
We’ve increased deep cleaning of our chairs and surfaces in between patient visits and adjusted our scheduling operations to stagger appointments to allow for extra cleaning time and ensure social distancing procedures are followed. Masks are always required, and we conduct symptom screenings for care teams and patients alike.
When you visit an Aspen Dental location, you can smile with the confidence of knowing that we are committed to the highest safety standards.