In This Issue: Where Should Prevention Begin?

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Where Should Prevention Begin?

by Trisha O'Hehir, RDH, MS
Hygienetown Editorial Director


Several years ago I was invited to Szeged, Hungary to meet with dental school faculty, government officials and officers in the Hungarian Dental Association. They were considering adding a dental hygiene training program to its curriculum. I was indeed honored to be invited to share my experience and vision for the future.

As a dental hygienist with clinical experience as well as teaching experience, it seemed a simple answer – yes, go ahead and open a dental hygiene school. Before the official meeting I spent time gathering information about the country and the dental needs of its people.

With a population of nearly 10 million where it appeared more than half of the adult population smoked, it was a stretch for me to imagine how graduating 25 dental hygienists per year would ever impact the high level of periodontal disease in a country the size of Hungary. Add to this the fact that each dental office had only one operatory, offering no place for the new graduates to work. It was suggested they could work a few hours in the morning before the dentist began seeing patients.

It quickly became clear that the population of adults in Hungary with periodontal disease would simply have to die with their disease because educating enough dental hygienists to provide care for the entire country would take too long. Instead, I suggested they abandon the idea of a dental hygiene program and instead focus on creating a program of several hundred preventive specialists who would work with cariesfree babies and help them grow up healthy. Instead of entering the equation after dental disease was already present, it would be better to start with healthy mouths and keep them that way.

This month’s focus on hygiene and prevention is provided by Rhoda Kublickis, based on her family’s experience with dental disease.

Inside This Section
95      Perio Reports
100    Profile in Oral Health: Prada Versus Prevention

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