UnitedLife 04

Oral health should not be underestimated

(45) | Dental hygienist | PRO SANUS, a.s., Policlinic ProCare Centrál


People have felt the need to take care of their teeth since the origins of humankind. First records of a toothbrush are dating from 3000 BC and the Sumerians. Its predecessors were toothpicks, wooden chew sticks and frayed ends of twigs used by Assyrians, Babylonians and ancient Chinese.

At the end of the 19th century dental journals began to publish articles on prevention and prophylactic cleaning methods. The profession of a dental hygienist formed especially under the influence of D.D.Smith from Philadelphia. In 1906 Dr. Alfred Fones Civilion taught his cousin Irene Newman, who worked as his dental assistant, how to take care of patients and keep their teeth clean. He applied and tested his new methods both on her and himself. In 1913 he founded the first school of dental hygiene in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In the thirties and forties, similar schools were opened in Norway, UK, and Canada and later on even worldwide. In Slovakia, the first dental hygiene school was established in Zvolen in 1992.

Dental hygiene plays a fundamental role in promoting prevention in the lives of patients. Dental prophylaxis can be described as a set of precautionary methods aimed at preventing tooth decay, inflammation, orthodontic anomalies, traumas and tumors based on personal motivation and information on oral hygiene, nutrition and fluoridation.

Dental prophylaxis is the main focus of a dental hygienist although it can be performed by a dentist too. It is carried out individually or in groups. Dental hygienists work individually, but always under the supervision of a dentist. Helping patients find their way through the maze of dental devices and select the most suitable ones is their mission. On a daily basis we treat patients with deposits of plaque and calculus, bleeding gums, bad breath, periodontal diseases or gapped teeth that occur as a result of poor oral hygiene. The patient has to brush his teeth once a day removing any plaque or tartar while avoiding inflammation and malodor.

Tooth decay and periodontal disease are not hereditary diseases; they are a result of improper or even nonexistent tooth cleaning techniques and dental aids. This causes dentists to often treat teeth that are simply not clean enough. Without the proper oral care at home, the patient is prone to losing his tooth anyway.
Dental filling without treating the root cause is reduced to merely a symptom treatment and the disease keeps spreading. We often choose the easier way around with the highly advertised mouthwashes and miracle-promising toothpastes because we live our lives on a fast track; however they only cover up the symptoms but do not treat the actual problem. All you need is a toothbrush and a suitable interdental cleaning device.


You should be able to learn about all this from your local dental hygienist. His main goal is to promote ideal oral hygiene, increase patient`s awareness on oral health and have a positive impact on a patient before his dental treatment. A dental hygienist assists the dentist in a treatment, he checks the teeth vitality, the periodontium, the level of oral hygiene; he also removes plaque, performs deep cleaning (also known as a curettage of the periodontal packets); he polishes roots, fluoridates, polishes and adjusts dental fillings and seals fissures after a dental examination. In the case of orthodontic patients he prepares the study models as per dentist`s directions.

Based on a previous examination of his oral cavity and the previously received treatment, a dental hygienist supports the patient in his choice of suitable teeth cleaning techniques and devices for home use, demonstrates their use and offers advice on healthy nutrition. He educates and informs the patient about the cause of his illness, prevention and treatment. He teaches patients to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy teeth and promotes regular oral hygiene. Generally speaking, a motivated patient is a well informed patient. All our findings lead to improvements in oral and overall health. Studies have shown that severe dental issues can lead to atherosclerotic vascular diseases, are capable of damaging the inner lining of arteries and increase the likelihood of heart attacks, strokes, premature births and reduced weight in newborns.

Tooth decay and oral cavity inflammation are some very common infectious diseases. In cooperation with a dentist, the objective and goal of a dental hygienist is to prevent these diseases, design a plan of treatment including prevention steps and checkups designed individually for each patient and thus help him achieve effective oral health care.

Remind yourself to take proper care of your oral health and schedule an appointment with your dental hygienist at least twice a year. Take your kids with you; the sooner they start with proper teeth and gum care, the better for them.

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