Are School Band Instruments Bacterial Hot Zones?
The Band Is Back To School
During back to school season, parents have a lot to worry about, plan for, deal with, and do.
If you have a child who plays in the school band, remember to add some anti-bacterial products to that back-to-school shopping list.
In a study from the journal General Dentistry, published by the Academy of General Dentistry, researchers found 295 different types of bacteria in the 117 spots that were tested, which included the mouthpieces, internal chambers, and instrument cases of school band instruments.
Several different types of infection-causing staphylococcus bacteria were identified in many of the instruments.
Other bacteria — including those associated with diarrhea, food poisoning, osteomyelitis, or bone infection, and other conditions — were also discovered.
Many allergy-inducing yeasts and molds were also found.
Several of those molds, according to AGD research, are known to produce mycotoxins, which can be toxic to humans, animals, and plants.
“Most of these instruments have been played by other students, and without the proper sanitation, bacteria and fungi can thrive for weeks and even months after the last use,” – study researcher R. Thomas Glass, DDS, Ph.D.
“The results of this study found that wind instruments could act as reservoirs of such diseases, many of these microbes are highly resistant to some or most of the antibiotics normally used in general practice, including methicillin.”
Clean Your Band Instruments
While all of this info does seem concerning, to say the least, it’s really pretty obvious – but there’s also an easy fix.
Regular cleaning and sanitizing of school band instruments.
You’d think that would already be the standard operating procedure, the only way to find out is to ask your children and the school.
According to Academy of General Dentistry spokeswoman Cynthia Sherwood, DDS, FAGD,
“Instruments should be cleaned after each use to reduce the number of organisms, and cleaning should not be confined to the mouthpiece since the bacteria invade the entire instrument.”
Cleaning and sanitizing school band instruments regularly will help you to significantly reduce the levels of bacteria your kids are exposed to on their band instruments.
Kids, schools, bacteria, and germs go hand in hand; but a simple solution can at least combat some of the oral interlopers clinging to your little musician’s school band instrument.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on a Dental Patient News and has been republished here with permission. It has since been updated for accuracy & comprehensiveness.
SOURCES: News release, Academy of General Dentistry. Glass, R. General Dentistry, March/April 2011; pp 2-11. WebMD
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