Srinagar: Risking the lives of patients, the hygiene in dentist clinics and hospitals in rural areas are not being maintained and equipments are not being cleaned properly in Kashmir.
The rules are being disregarded in dentist clinics and hospitals due to unhygienic thus posing a threat to patients.
Local sources said that some equipment cannot be cleaned and re-used safely and must be thrown away after each patient. “But no such practice is being followed at most dentist clinics in rural areas and hospitals.”
It has been observed that oral hygiene has mostly remained as an ignored and unrealized major social problem in the rural areas. Majority of the people are unaware about the relationship between oral hygiene and systemic diseases or disorders.
Sources said that although there were modern equipments available in Dental Colleges in Srinagar. “But in other rural hospitals, there are obsolete and old equipments,” they said. They said there was no check whether the dentists were following rules in maintaining the hygiene.
“In some hospitals, a dentist sees around 50 patients and equipments are neither being sterilized nor using new ones,” they said. “Such lack of concern towards patients poses a serious threat of viral infection to patients,” they said.
In some hospitals and clinics in rural areas, sources said that intravenous needle kit and out-of-date medicine stored are kept in a fridge alongside the staff’s packed lunches, while used gloves and tissues, and a packet of porridge oats, are stored on top of the sterilization machine.
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The risk of patients catching blood-borne infections through inadequately sterilized equipment is also there.
“Infection control practices in dentistry must be given the highest priority,” an official said.
The official said factors contributing to the steady rise in prevalence of periodontal disease include poor oral health awareness.
Oral health knowledge is considered to be an essential prerequisite for health-related behavior. The official said that no study has been done to assess the oral hygiene awareness in the state.
Over the past 20 years a significant amount of emphasis has been made on prevention of diseases rather than the treatment aspect. “Healthy teeth can last us a lifetime with the proper preventive dental care. Preventive oral health knowledge, behavior, and its practice are the important ways of keeping our teeth healthy,” the official said.
(With inputs from KNS)