Facts about Dental Hygienists and oral health

Who is a Dental Hygienist?

A dental hygienist is a health professional and is graduated from an accredited school of dental hygiene, who, through clinical services, education, consultative planning and evaluation endeavors, seeks to prevent oral diseases, provides treatment for existing disease, and assists people in maintaining an optimum level of oral health. Dental hygienists are health professionals whose primary concern is the promotion of total health through the prevention of disease.

What does a Dental Hygienist do?

Although the training programs of a dental hygienist in each country varies in length and content, the basic professional clinical duties of the hygienist are the same and may involve the following duties:

  • examining and charting the condition of the teeth, gingivae or supporting structures

  • oral prophylaxis

  • application of preventive agents to teeth, gingivae or supporting structures

  • to prevent caries and/or periodontal disease

  • giving instructions, information and education on oral hygiene to various target groups

  • carrying out epidemiological research regarding oral health

Where do Dental Hygienists practice?

Dental hygienists worldwide work in a variety of practice settings including:

  • Private dental offices

  • Community clinics

  • Hospitals and health care facilities

  • National, provincial and municipal departments

  • Correctional institutions

  • Research institutions

  • Educational institutions