How are you influencing our future? Patients continue to view our professional responsibility as simply “cleaning teeth.” Few patients realize the benefits of oral cancer screenings, a blood pressure check, a review of medical history, and how you are changing their overall health. When performing these assessments, educate your patient on why you take the time to conduct each of these procedures and how your findings affect their oral health and overall health. Educating patients helps them understand that you are more than a “tooth-cleaner.”This month we recognize National Dental Hygiene Month to celebrate the work of dental hygienists and raise awareness of the importance of good oral health. According to the CDC, dental hygienists are an essential component to people’s overall well-being, and good oral hygiene is one building block of a healthy lifestyle.1
In her presentation at the RDH Under One Roof Mega Session, Katrina Sanders focused on the critical role of clinical dental hygienists in the 21st century. She emphasized the importance of our role and using the opportunity to unite, elevate, and reimagine how we show up for our patients and ourselves. We are the answer, and we should embrace our role as health-care professionals, not just tooth-cleaners. Do you have your professional license and diploma hanging in your operatory? These two items bring increased awareness and open communication to the amount of education required to be a health-care provider.
How are you influencing your future? Health-care professionals are struggling with their own self-care; many acknowledge the importance of personal and professional wellness but have difficulties achieving it. Time or motivation to exercise, making healthy food and drink choices, maintaining healthy relationships, working on personal development, employing stress reduction techniques, and getting enough sleep are all factors in taking care of yourself.
Taking the time to increase our patients’ knowledge of why we do what we do and scheduling time to keep yourself healthy are key. Instead of chatting about home life, discuss your patients’ health and well-being. They won’t know how big of a difference you are making in their lives if you don’t share your knowledge. Promoting your future is one small way to promote our future.
Editor's note: This article appeared in the October 2023 print edition of RDH magazine. Dental hygienists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.
- Dental Hygiene Month. Employee Resources. Department of Homeland Security. Oct. 4, 2022. https://www.dhs.gov/employee-resources/news/2022/10/04/dental-hygiene-month#:~:text=National%20Dental%20Hygiene%20Month%20is,block%20of%20a%20healthy%20lifestyle