October is National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM), and the ADHA is celebrating!
What is National Dental Hygiene Month, and why should we celebrate?
National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM) is an annual event that the United States’ dental community celebrates in October. It’s worth celebrating because the aim of the campaign is to promote good oral hygiene habits and to increase awareness of the importance of dental hygiene.
The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Oral Health sponsor National Dental Hygiene Month, providing resources and information for dental professionals, educators, and the general public.
During National Dental Hygiene Month, dental professionals and health organizations across the country join the celebration by hosting events and providing educational resources about oral health.
We’re inviting you to celebrate with us, too. Some of the key messages of National Dental Hygiene Month include:
- Dental hygiene is essential for maintaining oral health and preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
- Good oral hygiene habits should be adopted by people of all ages.
- Dental professionals can help to improve oral health by providing education and advice about good oral hygiene practices.
- National Dental Hygiene Month encourages people to adopt good oral hygiene habits. It’s an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of dental hygiene.
Dental Hygiene Fun Facts:
And check out these fun facts about dental hygiene:
- Dentistry is one of the oldest medical professions in the world!
- The first dental college opened in the US in 1840. That’s 182 years ago!
- 109 years ago, Dr. Alfred Fones established the first dental hygiene program in the US in Bridgeport, Connecticut. That was in 1913.
- Dental hygiene is not just for your teeth — it’s also important for your gums and overall health!
- It’s also not just for adults — dental hygiene is important for kids too!
- You should visit your dentist (and dental hygienist!) regularly for check-ups, but you already knew that, right?
What Do Dental Hygienists Do?
Some of the most important people to acknowledge and celebrate during National Dental Hygiene Month are the hard-working hygienists who do so much to help us keep our teeth healthy.
Typically, what we see a dental hygienist doing each day is some or all of these things:
- Taking dental x-rays to assist in evaluating each patient’s oral health
- Cleaning teeth and examining oral tissues for signs of disease
- Evaluating the overall oral health of each patient
- Educating patients to raise awareness of healthy oral hygiene practices
Hygienists use a lot of different tools and techniques to clean teeth — dental floss, toothbrushes, scalers. They also rinse out their patients’ mouths with oral irrigators, devices that produce a steady stream of water. And they polish patients’ teeth.
Besides doing the dirty work of cleaning everyone’s teeth, dental hygienists also spend time teaching patients how to take care of their teeth. Did you know it’s easy for your hygienist to tell if you haven’t been brushing or flossing your teeth?
It’s true. Their job is harder when patients don’t take care of their teeth in between visits to the dentist. There’s more plaque for them to scrub off, and they can easily see if tooth decay is setting in.
That’s why dental hygienists give patients advice on what foods to eat, what drinks to avoid, and how to brush and floss teeth well. These professionals assist dentists in advocating for patients’ health. Helping younger and older patients alike know how to care of their teeth is part of the job.
You’ll find dental hygienists in your dentist’s office. You may also find them in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. Wherever they are, they’re doing their best to help people know what to do to keep their mouths healthy, so let’s raise a toast to dental hygienists this month!
Ideas for Celebrating National Dental Hygiene Month
Besides raising that toast, what else can you do to celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month? Well, for starters, be sure to schedule your next dental appointment if it’s been more than six months since your last visit.
If you’re all caught up on visits to the dentist, you can simply stop in and say hi to your hygienists. Or drop a thank you note in the mail, letting them know how much you appreciate all of their efforts to keep you and your family healthy!
Here are some other ideas for celebrating with us and sharing about the importance of oral health during National Dental Hygiene Month:
- Promote good oral health habits for yourself and your family.
- Because bacteria live more easily in old toothbrushes, be sure everyone in your household has a fresh toothbrush every three to six months — or sooner for anyone who’s been sick.
- Keep a supply of your kids’ favorite toothpaste on hand.
- Establish a good routine of brushing at least twice a day and flossing once.
- Encourage family members to visit a dentist for regular check-ups.
- Practice healthy eating habits in your family.
- Incorporate lots of fruit and vegetables in your daily meals.
- Increase your awareness of the dangers of sugary drinks and snacks, and skip the sugar as often as possible.
- Drink at least eight glasses of water every day.
- Always plan to see a dentist if anyone in your family is experiencing any problems with their teeth or gums, or if anyone has noticeable changes in either.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Eat well.
- Get plenty of sleep.
Stop in and see the dental hygienists at TrueCare Dentistry this month — we’re happy to work with you to keep your family healthy!