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Dentistry link in hepatitis B

AN average of nearly 300 people in Beijing were infected with hepatitis B every day via dental treatments, an industry insider estimated.

Most small clinics in the capital were unwilling to purchase or could not afford dental equipment with anti-bacteria functions because of the high price, reported Contemporary Health News, a newspaper based in Jinan City, capital of east China's Shandong Province.

A woman surnamed Li was diagnosed with hepatitis B recently after she visited a dental clinic for a tooth extraction several months ago. Her doctor said she might have been infected with the virus at the clinic.

Most dental patients have bleeding gums during treatment, which puts them at high risk of contracting hepatitis B or HIV, among other infectious diseases, through blood.

Some dental machinery was reported as a major contributor to infection as it came in constant contact with body fluid and was hard to clean.

It would be easy for this equipment to spread disease, said Jiang Hongmin, director of the outpatient department at the Stomatology Hospital of Shandong University in Jinan.

Small clinics only cleaned the head of these machines with iodine as professional hygiene equipment may cost practitioners more than 1 million yuan (US$146,376), according to Jiang.

Chronic hepatitis B causes liver failure and even cancer.


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