WHO calls for more research on COVID-19 transmission in dental practices



WHO calls for more research on COVID-19 transmission in dental practices 1

The World Heath Organisation (WHO) is urging for more research into the spread of coronavirus in dental settings. 

Today, the health agency warns of the ‘unknown’ consequences of aerosol generating procedures for both staff and patients, Reuters reports.

‘WHO guidance recommends in case of community transmission to give priority to urgent or emergency oral cases, to avoid or minimise procedures that may generate aerosol, prioritise a set of clinical interventions that are performed using an instrument and delay routine non-essential oral health care,’ said Benoit Varenne, a WHO dental officer.

‘The likelihood of COVID-19 being transmitted through aerosol, micro-particles or airborne particles … today I think is unknown, it’s open to question at least. This means that more research is needed.’

Reduce the risk

He added: ‘We think that the most pressing issue is related to the availability of essential personal protective equipment, PPE, for all health care personnel undertaking or assisting in the clinical procedures.’

The organisation confirmed all dental practices must have adequate ventilation in place to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

Last month, the WHO released guidelines on COVID-19 transmission, which contained reference to certain reports regarding AGPs.

However, it did not confirm that the virus spreads through air particles.

Importance of breathing

This comes as a dentist is urging dental teams to breathe appropriately to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Tim Ives has emphasised the importance of breathing through the nose.

He said: ‘Please consider this when talking to your patient. You should at all times slowly inhale though your nose, then speak and then exhale slowly out through your nose.

‘Remember when you are mouth-breathing, you are bypassing your natural respiratory defence. If you are mouth breathing behind your mask when operating, you are increasing your risk of infection.’

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