Monday, November 12, 2012

Dental hygiene

And latex-plastic gloves.

I think dentists and other health care workers began using gloves when the AIDS scare began.  Food service workers also use them to avoid cross contamination of food and utensils.

I was at a bagel shop ordering a sandwich a few years ago and watched the gloved worker make sandwiches, wiping the sandwich board with a damp rag - the same rag he used to wipe his gloves after ringing up customers and coming back to make the next person's sandwich - never washing his gloves nor bothering to change them between each activity.  Needless to say, he never sanitized the tools he was using either.

Likewise at the dentist's office.  Both the hygienist and the dentist wore gloves.  Both worked in my mouth - the dentist coming into the room from working on another patient had his hands in my moth to inject anesthesia.  The hygienist did paper work, dropped an instrument on the floor, picked it up, then went to retrieve an ex ray, came back in, worked on  cleaning my teeth....  never cleaned, changed, or removed her gloves at any point.  In fact, as I was paying at the desk, she wrote in my chart, invited the next patient in, and never washed her 'gloves'.

Yeah.  So I wonder where I picked up my infection?

I used to be a hypochondriac when I had health insurance, I went to the doctor all the time, mostly to get attention and pity.  Kidding - or am I?  Now however, since I've been uninsured for six years, I do not like to go at all.  I'm not and never have been a mysophobe, nor do I go to extremes to protect my health.  Of course I do things like get a flu shot and wash my hands frequently and do not use other people's chapstick - but that's about it.  I'm fine with getting sick - it is something to offer up.

But listen up health care workers, food service people, barbers and hairdressers* - remember your training.  Wash your hands, sanitize your instruments and workplace.  You can protect yourself - but it is your duty to protect your clients in the process.  That's why you wear the gloves.

*I go to a neighborhood guy to get my haircut - he has a shop - he never cleans his instruments, even after he drops them on the floor.  He used a towel to dry my hair before cutting it and was offended when I told his it smelled like mildew.  I know!  I sound like an old lady, but how hard is it to sanitize your tools and launder your towels?


  1. I've noticed the same thing about food handlers and hairdressers. Since I've been both, allow me to say my salon was spotless. Even the coffee cups were sterilized.

    No one handling food should handle money without first removing their gloves. That's just so basic.

    Now I hand out cute little samples at one of our local grocery stores. Not only are my gloves changed often, but in between changes I regularly swab with special disinfectant clothes. Our deli people change their gloves a gazillion time a day, too.

    We also provide the cloths for customers to swab their cart handles and in the meat department after they handle meat packages.

    I've been lucky with my doctors and dentists, too. My dentist and hygienist change their gloves so often, they should have invested in a glove company.

    As to seeing the doctor. When I told my all-time favorite doctor on the first visit that I hadn't seen a doctor in five years he said, "That's good. We kill people!" Such honesty...

  2. Gloves are unnatural, and they really don't eliminate disease!

    Hi. ;)

  3. ....Ish da fi da !!! No Idea What this means...but my mother, born in Montevideo, and Her mother, both would have said this upon reading your post: the majority of my relatives live in Minn., and I'm afraid to ask Them - can one enlighten me ? I have the idea it is a 'dirty word'. L.

  4. Consolata - ish da means something is icky. Ish da, fi da means it's really, really icky.

    I'm sure that's why you hear Minnesotans say "ish" to refer to something icky.

    Bottom line? It's an icky, icky world sometimes.

  5. oh Adrienne - thanks ! finally - an answer to an age-old question....
    my Baptist Minn. cousins do say "Oh Ish !" -
    when something is pretty awful.
    I guess it is a Norwegian or Danish thing.

  6. I grew up on the Montana prairie and everyone says "oh ISH!" there.

  7. A medical, dental or food industry worker who does not wash before and after donning gloves and who does not change gloves between tasks is putting their clientele at risk. Gloves also lose their effectiveness as a barrier to disease transmission when they've been worn an hour or more so there is no validity to washing or rinsing gloves between use. At one of the hospitals where I once worked we wore buttons that encouraged patients to ask us if we washed our hands. Hand-washing is the single most effective way to protect patients from infection.


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