Weekly Safety Topic – Public Toilets

No Comments

The Least Disgusting Way to Use a Public Toilet, According to Experts

Picture this: You’re in a public restroom. You carefully lay down a strip of toilet paper, forming a protective shield between you and all the germs of the world. You’re a centimeter from sitting down… when the paper slips into the bowl.

Blergh, right? Well, there’s good and bad news. First, the good: Public toilet seats are actually one of the cleanest places in the entire restroom. The bad news: Everything else can be pretty nasty.

The Germy Truth

“One of the cleanest spots is usually the toilet seat. A lot of people will wipe it all day, and [cleaners] tend to use disinfectants on it,” says Chuck Gerba, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology and environmental sciences at the University of Arizona.

So no worries if you make contact. Even if the person before you didn’t wipe it down, there’s no huge risk: Very few germs transmitted that way can make you sick, says Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health also at the University of Arizona. And even if they could, the porous toilet paper would basically do nothing to prevent it. (Comforting.)

The real threat lies beneath, Gerba says. “The germiest spot in restrooms is always the floor.” According to Gerba’s research, when the toilet flushes, it sends a spray of droplets into the air, which then settle onto any surfaces within six feet of the flush. Those droplets can be carrying bacteria from any fecal-borne diseases, like E. coli, norovirus, salmonella, or shigella.
All that can be avoided by closing the lid. The only problem: Public restrooms have by and large eliminated lids, Reynolds says. Which means the handle, the toilet paper dispenser, and even the little purse shelf are hotspots for bacteria to linger.

Your Action Plan

With all this horrifying news in mind, what’s the best way to avoid contracting a cold, flu, or fecal-borne disease next time you do your business?

1. Rely on paper towels.

Do what you need to do, then focus on the exit strategy, says Daniel Park, M.D., a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Medical University of South Carolina. “I use a paper towel to turn on the faucet, I wash my hands with soap and water, I take another paper towel, and then I use that to turn off the faucet and open up the handles of the door.”
Yep, doorknobs and faucet handles are danger zones too, Reynolds says. They’re the first things we touch before washing our hands, and ironically, turning them off contaminates our hands all over again. So, while paper towel-handling everything in the vicinity may look a little Michael Jackson-esque, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

2. Beware the flush.

If you see someone walking out of a stall, Reynolds recommends steering clear—the germs from their flush will probably still be in the air. When you’re done doing the deed, get fully clothed and ready to go right before you flush. Your germs can’t hurt you, but there could be residual germs in the bowl from the person who was there before you.

3. Sit, don’t squat.

Reynolds says that even though paper toilet protectors serve no real purpose, she continues to use them. People are just more likely to sit (rather than hover) with a shield in the mix, which keeps actually-not-sterile urine where it should be, improving environmental hygiene and helping keep things clean.

4. Protect your personal items.

Ever put your phone on the floor—just for a second? We have. But never again: As soon as your cell or purse hits that surface, it potentially becomes a carrier for that bacteria and spreads it wherever you put it down next, Gerba says.
As for your purse or bag, avoid placing it on the floor or the shelf, which accumulate the most germs, Reynolds says. Instead, hang it on the hook on the back of the door, which is better than having them in contact with the floor.

5. Wash your hands.

Of course, standard hygiene rules all, so make sure you’re washing your hands for the recommended 20 seconds, Park says (one round of “Happy Birthday”). And if you’re using your phone on the toilet—don’t forget to disinfect.

The Takeaway

All in all, public restrooms aren’t going to be the death of you. While the ick factor is definitely present, if you keep your hands clean (and avoid skin-on-fluid contact with an open wound, hopefully a given), you’ll be fine. If you’re still worried, invest in a pack of antibacterial wipes—for yourself, for your faucets, and most of all, for the bottom of your purse.

Germs in the office not on the toilet seat

FYI… in case you’ve been wondering since the second paragraph…. “Blergh” is a combination of the words: blah, argh, and ugh!!

How to get Your Best Deduction with Section 179

No Comments

What are Section 179 Deductions?

The IRS enacted Section 179 deductions to promote small businesses growth.  When you make capital expenditures, like equipment or software, you can deduct the cost of the asset over time.  That is basic depreciation.

The advantage of Section 179 is the ability to take 100% Deductions for qualified assets purchased and placed in service in the same year. Taking the full deduction will save you significant money on your business tax return.  The Section 179 Deduction limit is $500,000 for all of 2017.

Qualified property can be elected for the Section 179 deduction. Most tangible business equipment will qualify for the deduction.  This includes new, certified pre-owned, refurbished or used equipment. It should be purchased and available for use by the end of the last day of the tax year.  Most businesses find equipment financing to be very helpful for significant equipment purchases.  More info is available at DentalPlanet.com/financing

Taking Your 179 Deduction in 3 easy steps

Purchase qualified equipment during the tax year.

Keep records of the purchase price, date, freight, installation and in-service date for qualified purchases.

Take the 179 Deduction for the total cost of all purchases, up to $500,000. Don’t forget to include additional charges for taxes, freight, and installation.

Additional Resources are Available.  There are additional deductions for purchases over $500,000 up to $2 million.  Please visit DentalPlanet.com/tax_info or section179.org for more information. Dental Planet is not a tax advisor, so please consult your tax advisor for specific details relating to your specific situation.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness

No Comments

Did you know?

  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2016, an estimated 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 61,000 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
  • About 2,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2016. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
  • Breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. began decreasing in the year 2000, after increasing for the previous two decades. They dropped by 7% from 2002 to 2003 alone. One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002. These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk.
  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.

Statistics from breastcancer.org

Dental Planet would like to highlight these excellent organizations during the month of October. These charities spend a majority of their funding directly on research to help find a cure for this disease.

final_bcrf_betheend_instagramThe Breast Cancer Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer. They provide critical funding for cancer research worldwide to fuel advances in tumor biology, genetics, prevention, treatment, metastasis and survivorship.

susan-love-logoDr. Susan Love Research Foundation is dedicated to achieving a future without breast cancer by engaging the public and the scientific communities in innovative research. They do this through performing and facilitating innovative and collaborative research, translating science to engage the public as informed partners, and inspiring novel research.

Remembering September 11, 2001

No Comments

9-11-Memorial-NYC-1024x768.144102

Reflecting Absence from the South Pool at the New York World Trade Center Memorial

The National September 11 Memorial is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.

The Memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in the North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. Architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker created the Memorial design selected from a global design competition that included more than 5,200 entries from 63 nations.

The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools, a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.

For additional resources, we suggest: http://www.911memorial.org

25 Incredible Images from National Geographic’s photo editors: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/remembering-911/

Help Raise PTSD Awareness

No Comments

During the month of June join us to spread awareness for PTSD treatment and options. This flyer from the National Center for PTSD shows some of things we all can do to raise awareness of this illness.

May is Better Sleep Month

No Comments

The objective of Better Sleep Month
Encouraging healthy lives through better sleep. Refreshing sleep is just as important as diet and exercise in maintaining your health. Poor sleep, in contrast, can lead to increased blood pressure, stress, irritability, concentration problems and a weakened immune system.

Establishing Better Sleep Patterns
• Maintain a consistent sleep schedule – even on the weekends
• Relax prior to sleep with relaxing activities like reading, and limit stimulating ones.
• Proper diet and exercise support better sleep
• Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine close to bed time.
• Take control of your sleeping environment. Dark, quiet and comfortable surroundings are important, as is your bedding quality and space. Remember to remove distractions in the bed- room.

How Much Sleep is Needed
The quality of sleep is a very important factor. Six hours of deep refreshing sleep is more beneficial than eight hours of light interrupted sleep. Many experts suggest 7.5 to 8.5 hours is optimal.

Achieving Better Sleep
When conditions such as sleep apnea or snoring interrupt sleep, your dentist can typically be of
great help. Custom molded mouth pieces called Jaw Advancing Devices (JAD) work well to treat
both sleep apnea and are effective to stop snoring.
Lifestyle changes are sometimes needed to change poor sleeping habits. Counseling can be effective in reducing stress and supporting these changes.
Better Sleep Month is supported by the Better Sleep Council. Reference for this article can be found at WhatHealth.com (Better Sleep Month 2017).