Dentists asked to make hand hygiene go viral

News Published: 
26 April 2016

The Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) and Association of Clinical Oral Microbiologists (ACOM) are asking oral health professionals to take to their social media accounts to promote good hand hygiene.

Healthcare-acquired infections affect over 4 million patients a year in Europe, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and cost around €7 billion (£5.5 billion) in additional healthcare and direct financial losses. They also exacerbate the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance by increasing the number of prescriptions for antibiotics.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says dentists have an important part to play in preventing the spread of infections, and is promoting the simple act of hand-washing through a printable poster for dental surgeries called Your 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene.

ACOM and the FGDP(UK) are supporting the WHO’s International Hand Hygiene Day by asking dentists to join in with their ‘Thunderclap’, which at 8pm on Thursday 5th May will automatically post the message “hand hygiene supports safe dental care” to the social networks of those who sign up in advance.

The organisations’ similar collaboration last year on antimicrobial prescribing reached over 83,000 accounts, and they are hoping for a similar impact this time. Dr Mick Horton, FGDP(UK) Dean, and Dr Melanie Wilson, Chair of ACOM, had this message:

“Dental patients are in your hands, so always check what’s on your hands. Don’t spread infections, but do spread the word – sign up to our Thunderclap today, then share the link with your colleagues.”

The WHO’s posters showing the recommended techniques for hand-washing and hand-rubbing are at and

The figures attributed to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control were cited in Clean Care is Safer Care: Report on the Burden of Endemic Health Care-Associated Infection Worldwide, (2011, World Health Organisation):

For enquiries, please contact Jamie Woodward, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, on 020 7869 6759 or email