A recent study has shown that uniform-related infection control practices are sometimes “overlooked and underemphasised” in a practice setting.
The study investigated daily uniform habits of dental students at the King Abdulaziz University Faculty of Dentistry in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The frequency of uniform washing was below the standard expected, and almost 30% of dental students were not aware of how their uniforms are washed. High temperature washing of medical uniforms is recommended, as it leads to microbial reduction by facilitating the detergent’s effect and by thermal disinfection.
Only 50% of female students and 38% of male students had footwear specifically for the dental clinic. Uniforms are frequently contaminated below the waist, particularly when using handpieces.
Regarding the frequency of changing uniform, the NHS recommend that uniforms are changed at least daily, or more often if visibly soiled or contaminated. The study found that only 47% of male students and 65% of female students washed their uniform every day.
In summary, to minimise the risks of cross infection through cross contamination, it is vital that dental professionals own several short sleeved uniforms, washing them every day at a high temperature. Dedicated footwear should be worn in the surgery, and washed at least monthly.