Dental Staffing

December 1st -7th is National Handwashing Awareness Week

Washing our hands is one of the easiest personal hygiene habits we can acquire to prevent illness. So often we witness people in public restrooms failing to wash their hands…YUK! When searching statistics, there is a wide variety of statistics reporting handwashing after using public restroom. The CDC reports that only 31 percent of men and 65 percent of women washed their hands after using a public restroom. Although we are taught to wash our hands before eating, it doesn’t really matter what time of day it is; the bacteria on our hands should be removed regularly and throughout the day.


What part of your hand is most often missed when washing your hands?


Fun Facts About Bacteria (Especially on Your Hands):

  • 400 BC- The ancient Greek historian Thucydides is the first to suggest that disease can spread from one person to another.
  • 1546 – The germ theory begins when Italian scholar and poet Girolamo Fracastoro reports that he believes illness is caused by small particles or  that can be passed from one person to another.
  • 1807 – This is when microorganisms are found by Italian entomologist Agostino Bassi. He  discovered that microorganisms cause disease.
  • 1818 - Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis is born in Hungary. He is credited as a pioneer in antiseptic procedures.
  • 1860 - A breakthrough safety process begins with Frenchman Louis Pasteur. His research in the causes and prevention of disease, lead to vaccinations and what came to be known as pasteurization.

Helpful Hints to Handwashing and Hand Hygiene:

“The CDC calls handwashing a do-it-yourself vaccine” so follow these simple steps:

  • Wet your hands with clean running water, then dispense soap.
  • Lather your hands thoroughly for the best effect.
  • Scrub for 20 seconds: front, back, between and each finger, under nails.
  • Rinse thoroughly to remove bacteria trapped in lather.
  • Turn off the water with your elbow.
  • Dry thoroughly because bacteria can grow faster in moisture.
  • Open any closed door with your paper towel.
  • Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands; use the crook in your arm (antecubital fossa) or your shoulder.
  • Train yourself to keep your fingers out of your mouth, eyes, and ears.
  • When greeting another individual, do an elbow or fist bum instead of a handshake.

Why These Helpful Hints Should Become Habit:

  • What the CDC says about prevention of disease: handwashing can prevent 20% of infections (including the flu) and 33% of diarrhea-related illnesses.
  • Pneumonia and diarrheal-related disease are the two most deadly illnesses of children under the age of 5 years throughout the world.
  • Antibiotics become resistant; handwashing prevents disease, therefore less use of antibiotics and less resistance for when they are really needed.
  • A cough or a sneeze emits thousands of bacteria laden droplets. Don’t use your hands to muffle them!

Here’s Why We Love National Handwashing Awareness Week!

  • It reminds Healthcare Professionals to think about all the things they touch in a day and how many others may have toughed those things without washing their hands.
  • It makes our homes, cars, and offices healthier by spreading fewer germs.
  • A fun activity for your entire Dental Team: place a sign in the reception area announcing this Awareness. Offer a handwashing demonstration either in person or on a video! Kids will love this!


Right-handed people miss their right thumb and left-handed people miss their left thumb.



“Treatment without prevention is simply unsustainable”
- Bill Gates