Magazines in a dentist's waiting room can do more harm than good by spreading germs though they are meant to provide a welcome distraction before facing the dentist, infection experts have claimed.
Experts insist that magazines should be thrown out or recycled after just a week and not left out to be leafed through by patients for a very long time
The advice was handed out to Monica Symes, a dentist in Lyme Regis, Dorset, by an NHS infection control worker.
The 65-year-old was also warned that ignoring it could lead to her failing an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.
"I can't believe the magazines would pose any risk to patients," the Daily mail quoted Symes as saying.
Symes, who has been practising since the past 30 years, has some magazines dating back to 2004.
"Generally we try to keep up-to-date but plenty of old magazines are quite interesting," she said.
The adviser, from Dorset Primary Care Trust, also warned Symes that Blu-tack on posters in her waiting room posed a health risk if re-used.
The General Dental Council said it was heavy-handed to wage war on magazines.
"Providing magazines in waiting rooms for patients is a good way of helping them relax and can ease the concerns of anxious individuals," Dr John Milne, chairman of the organisation's general practice committee, said.
He added that posters are used to give advice on oral health or provide information about the surgery and its services.
The Care Quality Commission stressed that it has not banned magazines from waiting rooms, or set any rules about Blu-Tack.
"The only time these things would be an issue would be if they were used in such a way as to compromise someone using the service - and it's pretty hard to see what these circumstances might be," a spokesman said.