Cultural variances in odd spots

I’VE LONG NOTICED the occasional cultural difference where you wouldn’t normally expect it — in the medical community. Isn’t Science Settled? No, it’s not.

An interesting example popped up in my life this week.

New ImageYesterday, I received a minor dental surgery, two stitches. Before leaving the dentist’s office, he gave me instructions, one of which was to avoid dairy products for three days. No milk, no cheese, no yogurt, no nada.

This struck me as odd, but I decided to obey orders, so last night, instead of my usual small bowl of cereal and milk before bed, I downed a croissant with orange marmalade.

Pretty tasty.

But this morning, I decided to do a little online sleuthing because I like my bedtime cereal and milk, and I eat it again for Second Breakfast.

I typed into my search engine (DuckDuckGo, never Google), “What foods should be avoided after dental surgery?” I phrased the question in English, so I received U.S. medical websites. I read three of them, and nowhere did it say to avoid dairy products. On the contrary, yogurt was one of the recommendations.

I then typed the same question in Spanish, so I got Mexican medical websites. The very first one told me to avoid all dairy products. So what’s happening here? Cultural differences is what. I’ve decided to be a Gringo and enjoy my cereal and milk.

18 thoughts on “Cultural variances in odd spots

  1. Perhaps it’s a hangover from days when milk wasn’t processed under sanitary conditions, straight from the udder to the mouth. My dad always told me the reason Mexican food is so highly spiced is to cover up the taste of spoiled meat, as in the old days, Mexico didn’t have food refrigeration. Phil


  2. American dentists used to advise no-dairy following dental work — especially extractions. In the 1970s, my then-dentist said that dairy provides a perfect culture for bacterial growth in an open wound. It was supposed to be the equivalent of agar in a petri dish. For whatever reason, I suspect someone finally did a scientific study. Probably the Milk Producers Association. That does not appear to be the American medical advice now.

    Some things get ingrained and are hard to undo. That may be the reason Mexican dentists stick to the old ways. I have no idea whether or not it is good.

    But I have certain doubts about some of the warnings I receive from my Mexican doctor. If you have a wound, do not eat pork. If you have a cold, do not drink cold drinks. If you are hot, do not drink cold drinks. I have been told the last one will cause colds. And here I was thinking colds were caused by viruses rather than ice water.


    1. Señor Cotton: I do not recall that former dental warning in the U.S. about avoiding dairy, but you have a better memory than I do, which is well documented. You do not, however, have a better memory than Jennifer Rose. No one does.

      No matter. I will continue with my dairy intake. But I’ll brush my teeth immediately after eating. I normally do that only once in the morning and again at night. But your experiences are a hoot. If you have a wound, avoid pork?! Never heard that one. And, yes, I’ve heard the ones about cold drinks, etc. My wife also believes that stuff. Are you aware of the Mexican aversion to auto air-conditioning? It makes you sick, you know. I always marvel at the high percentage of cars, modern cars that I know have AC, driving around in the state capital, where it gets significantly hotter than here on my mountaintop, with their windows wide open and, obviously, the AC unused.

      We Mexicans are loco people.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The automotive air-conditioning thing is particularly maddening, especially in taxis when it’s a million degrees out, and you’re stuck in traffic.


          1. They do (at least in CDMX), but it pains them to use it. Both because they think it’s unhealthy and of course because it uses slightly more gasoline.


            1. Kim: I don’t recall ever being in an AC’d taxiin Mexico City, but you’ve been there more than I have. And yes, they shun it for the two reasons you mention. Similarly, many Mexican drivers in general use windshield wipers and headlights absolutely no more than necessary, which creates at times perilous situations.

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  3. Something unsavory entering the bloodstream at the surgery site by way of contaminated dairty products?


  4. Having had two oral surgeries recently at the University of Illinois Dental School in Chicago, I was not told either time to avoid dairy. Straws, yes. Dairy, no.


    1. Perry: Not surprising news. I could point out this unnecessary instruction to my dentist when I return next week to pull out the stitches, but it would not do a lick of good. He would continue telling patients the same thing because he is convinced of it. It’s not universal down here, however. A couple of years back, I got an implant, and that different dentist never told me to dodge dairy, and implants are far more severe than these two stitches I have.

      I apologize for your comment going to moderation again. Blame WordPress. I am innocent!


  5. Were you prescribed antibiotics after the surgery? Dairy products should be avoided with some antibiotics.


    1. Patzman: No antibiotic, so no problem. Did not know that about dairy and some antibiotics. I don’t recall any doctor in my life ever telling me that after giving me an antibiotic prescription.


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