The oral hygiene industry has come a long way over its 100 years of existence. Whereas dentists and other care providers struggled to gain recognition for their role in fostering a healthy population, many of these services now play a major role in primary care initiatives. Despite rapid industry advancement, many of the same procedures that were used a century ago are still relevant today.Improvements in technology, as well as the availability of dental enterprise software, has made it easier for clinics to accurately perform these procedures for a larger number individuals – all while limiting overhead costs.
Christine Nathe, director at the University of New Mexico's Division of Dental Health, wrote in the industry publication RDH Magazine about the growth of the oral hygiene field over the last century. She cited a report published in 1921 that was written by a dental hygienist who spent five years providing care for students in a public school district based in Bridgeport, Conn. The report, which was presented to the Convention of the Connecticut Dental Hygienists' Association the same year it was published, made a connection between poor oral hygiene and larger, systemic infections in students. The researcher concluded that germs and bacteria housed in the mouth infected food, which ultimately spread to other parts of the body.
"Does this sound similar to what we know today?" Nathe wrote. "It is interesting to note that many feel that we just now realized that oral infections can contribute, or may be linked, to systemic infections. This is not new science."
Improving tried and true procedures
What is new is the availability of new tools that enhance the diagnostic process. Today's oral hygienists and utilize dental software technology to create electronic reports based on a variety of available data that ultimately makes it easier to see connections between seemingly disparate information. According to a separate article published in RDH Magazine, dental hygienists are quickly broadening their roles in the health care industry, focusing on maintaining active relationships with professional associations and promoting greater of public outreach. In essence, oral care providers are advocates for the importance of proper dental hygiene.
Clinics and institutions that utilize dental enterprise software can easily join together to lead the industry in improving the quality of care patients receive. The use of electronic health records and automated systems makes it easier to share information, increase efficiency and influence community members to play a more active role in their overall health.