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Brush up on your oral health knowledge for dental hygiene month

A message from the School of Dentistry Department of Dental Hygiene

October is National Dental Hygiene Month

For patients who are looking for a dental home, click to choose the best School of Dentistry clinic for you.

The following is a message from the president and vice president of the Department of Dental Hygiene class of 2019.

What is the role of the hygienist?

The typical known role for a dental hygienist is to provide preventive dental care to patients. However, the roles can vary from being a clinician, educator, entrepreneur, administrator, researcher, etc. These are some of the main roles we uphold to be the best hygienist we possibly can be.

What tips are often delivered by hygienists?

  • Floss at least once a day

  • Brush twice a day or more

    Manual: Soft bristle toothbrush is recommended.
    Electric: Excellent choice for everyone, especially those who have a high caries risk, periodontal (gum) disease, extensive orthodontics (braces) or prosthodontics (crown and bridge), or are aggressive brushers. Especially fantastic for people with dexterity issues, patients with physical/mental disabilities and their caregivers.
    Use a toothpaste that contains flouride.  (It should be indicated on the box.)

  • Use an anti-microbial mouth rinse

  • Many mouth rinses are anti-caries or anti-plaque/gingivitis (look for ADA Seal of Acceptance)

  • Several mouth rinses do not contain alcohol (if you need to avoid alcohol due to dry mouth, other illness, or are a recovering alcoholic).

  • Avoid sugary foods! If you eat lots of sweets (especially in October) make sure to brush afterwards to avoid sugar sitting on the teeth.

  • Chew a sugar free gum.
    If you cannot brush after eating, chewing a sugar free gum for 20 minutes will help reduce the risk of developing new cavities. Any sugar free gum will work. However, if possible, choose one that has Xylitol as the main sweetener. It has additional anti-cavity benefits.

  • Obtain regular preventative care and dental exams at least twice a year.

What are the rewards of becoming a hygienist?

  • Making patients feel relaxed in the dental office atmosphere.

  • A sense of fulfillment when helping patients with oral health issues

  • Making personal connections with patients (This is the ultimate goal: to make patients as comfortable as possible when coming to the dental office.)

  • Being able to lend a helping hand in the community to those who are unable to receive dental care in a private office

Read more about the bachelor of science and master of science dental hygiene program at the WVU School of Dentistry.

Katya Pase and McKenzi Fisher are representatives for the Class of 2019