Dental hygienists: Your oral health care superheroes in April and always!

April 2018 (Ottawa, ON) —National Dental Hygienists Week™ (NDHW™) takes place April 7‒13 as part of oral health month in Canada.  During the week, which emphasizes “Oral Health for Total Health,” dental hygienists remind us that taking care of our mouth, teeth, and gums benefits our overall physical and mental well-being.

Dental hygienists are oral health experts and primary health care providers. They work in traditional dental offices and independent dental hygiene practices, clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and the community. As healthcare superheroes, dental hygienists examine your mouth, head, and neck at every appointment and offer preventive treatments such as scaling and root planning, dental sealants, and fluoride. They may also provide dietary recommendations, tobacco cessation counselling, and sports mouthguard fittings. There is a lot of expertise behind that mask!

Organized by the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association, which serves as the collective voice for more than 29,246 dental hygienists across the country, NDHW™ kicks off on April 7 with Gift from the Heart, www.giftfromtheheart.ca, a national one-day campaign providing no-cost preventive dental hygiene services to those who cannot afford professional oral health care. The awareness week continues with oral health promotions and events in schools, malls, and clinics so watch for signs of purple—the colour of dental hygiene—in your community! And finally, the week is a perfect time to recognize your dental hygienist as a health care superhero. Nominations are open at www.dentalhygienecanada.ca/healthcaresupehero until April 30 and there are prizes to be won.

Celebrate your smile this April with new oral health goals. Start with six simple steps: brush, floss, use an oral rinse, eat a healthy diet, eliminate tobacco use, and see a dental hygienist regularly.  Visit www.cdha.ca/NDHW for resources and activities, including our national colouring contest.  For additional information on caring for your teeth and mouth, visit www.dentalhygienecanada.ca.

Submitted by Rae-Anne St.Pierre, Registered Dental Hygienist, Vankleek Hill

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