At Bentham Dental, we take sensitivities towards latex products very seriously, especially since this problem is becoming more common.
It is estimated that between 1% and 6% of the general population are sensitized towards latex and this percentage is higher for health care workers who are regularly exposed to latex.
Why are Latex Allergies Increasing?
Over the years there has been an increased demand for latex gloves which has resulted in changes in the way they are manufactured. These changes have increased the amount of latex protein antigens in latex gloves. Additionally, there are around 40,000 products that contain natural rubber latex so exposure is increasing.
Are You Latex-Sensitive?
Sometimes people might not even be aware they are latex-sensitive. Possible symptoms include wheezing, rashes, difficulty in breathing, coughing, or breaking out in hives after being exposed to rubber gloves or dental dams in a dental practice, or when handling latex products such as rubber balls and balloons. In the worst case, a latex sensitivity may cause anaphylaxis.
You might be more at risk of latex sensitivity if you have ever worked in the rubber industry or within health care. People who have experienced any complications during surgery may also need to be aware. If this strikes a chord with you, you could have some degree of sensitivity towards latex.
Creating a Safe Latex-Free Environment
This is why we have chosen to be a latex-free dental practice because the safety of our patients and our staff is our main priority. All our products are latex-free which eliminates the risk of our surgery becoming contaminated with latex.
Even if a dental practice uses latex-free gloves when treating patients with allergies, there is a chance of “latex dust” remaining in the atmosphere if they have previously worn latex gloves when seeing a patient.
All our products are latex-free which eliminates the risk of our surgery becoming contaminated with latex.
Latex proteins in the gloves can adhere to the cornstarch powder which is used by manufacturers to make it easier to put on and remove rubber gloves. These particles can remain airborne for hours afterwards.
Even if you do not have any latex allergies, being treated in a latex-free environment will help reduce the risk of developing sensitivities towards latex in the future.