BackgroundWater delivered by dental units during routine dental practice is highly contaminated. The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of a new chemical solution flushed through Dental Unit Water Lines (DUWL) for the control of contamination inside dental units.Materials and methodsSix old dental units equipped with a device designed to automatically flush disinfecting solutions through the water system (Castellini Autosteril) were selected. Water samples from DUWL effluents were collected in each dental unit for 10 randomly selected days, before and after a 5 minute DUWL disinfecting cycle with TetraAcetylEthileneDiamine (TAED) and persalt (Ster4spray produced by Farmec spa, and distributed by Castellini spa). Water samples were plated in R2A Agar and cultured at room temperature for 7 days, and the total number of heterotrophic microorganisms counted and expressed in Log10 CFU/mL A general linear model was fitted and multiple regression ANOVA for repeated measures was used for the statistical analysis.ResultsThe mean contamination in DUWL effluent at baseline was 5.45 ± 0.35 CFU/mL (range 4.79 to 5.93 CFU/mL). When water samples were tested "in vitro" against the chemical, no growth of heterotrophic bacteria was detected after a 5 minute contact in any of the water samples tested. After undergoing a 5 minute disinfecting cycle with the chemical, DUWL mean contamination in water effluents was 2.01 ± 0.32 CFU/mL (range 1.30 to 2.74 CFU/mL) (significant difference with respect to baseline).ConclusionsAn inbetween patient disinfecting procedure consisting of flushing DUWL with TAED and persalt equivalent to 0.26% peracetic acid could be useful in routine dental practice for cross-contamination control.