By Setina Evans RDH
Dental hygiene / Oral Hygiene refers to the state of an individual´s oral health as a result of proper maintenance or neglectingthe practice of keeping the mouth, teeth, tongue and gums clean and healthy to prevent disease and other problems. Oral hygiene consists of both personal and professional care.
Dental Hygiene Career
Dental hygiene is the science and profession involved in the practice of recognizing, treating and preventing oral diseases.
As a Primary care oral health professional the Registered Dental Hygienist graduated from an accredited dental hygiene program in an institution of higher education and is licensed in dental hygiene to provide educational, clinical, research, administrative, and therapeutic services supporting total health through the promotion of optimal oral health.
In practice, Dental Hygienists integrate the role of clinician, educator, advocate, manager, and researcher to prevent oral diseases and promote general health and well being.
Dr. Alfred C. Fones, the founder of Dental Hygiene, educated the first dental hygienist, Irene Newman, for one year before she began to treat patients at his office.
Dr. Fones believed in preventive medicine and the value of quality nutrition, realizing the negative impact of processed and refined substitutes. He believed that preventive dental health care and education would improve the quality of life .
Today Dental Hygienists work in hospitals and in community dental services, but most frequently in general dental practice.
The Dental Hygienist works alongside the Dentist and together play a complementary role in providing exceptional oral health care service.