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NHM Health Focus:
Dental Hygiene

October 2009

    Dental Hygiene Month logo

Oral Health
  - Diet and Oral Health (ADA)
  - Oral Health Fact Sheets (ADHA)
  - Dental Health (Revolution Health
  - Women's Oral Health (AGD)
  - Men's Oral Health (AGD)
  - Adult Oral Health (CDC)
  - Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums (ADA)
  - Preventing Cavities, Gum Disease, & Tooth Loss (CDC)
  - Mouth and Dental Disorders (Merck)

Oral Health and other Health Conditions
  - Oral Health and Overall Health (Mayo Clinic)
  - Mouth Body Connection (AAP)
  - Simple Steps to Better Dental Health (Aetna)
  - Spit Tobacco, A Guide for Quitting (NIDR)
  - Tobacco and Oral Health (WHO)

Your Mouth, Teeth, and Gums
  - Atlas of the Body: Teeth (AMA)
  - Oral and Dental Anatomy (iVillage)

Oral Health Resources For Students
  - Healthy Teeth (Nova Scotia Dental Assn.)
  - Smile (BAM, HHS)
  - Taking Care of Your Teeth (Kids Health)

Oral Health Resources for Teachers
Classroom Ideas and Resources (ADA)
  - Open Wide and Trek Inside! (NIH Office of Science Education)

The American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) sponsors National Dental Hygiene Month to increase public awareness of specific dental hygiene-related issues and to recognize the contributions dental hygienists make as they reach out to their communities. This year the focus of National Dental Hygiene Month is "Adolescent and Teenage Oral Health."

The ADHA suggests that smoking, piercing, breath mints, carbonated and sugared drinks, sports mouth guards, nutrition and eating disorders can all have a negative impact on teen dental hygiene by allowing periodontal bacteria "to enter the blood stream and travel to major organs and begin new infections. Research is suggesting that this may:

  • Contribute to the development of heart disease.
  • Increase the risk of stroke.
  • Increase a woman's risk of having a preterm, low birth weight baby.
  • Pose a serious threat to people whose health is compromised by diabetes, respiratory diseases, or osteoporosis."
    (American Academy of Periodontology)

We also know that:

  • "Mouth and throat diseases, which range from cavities to cancer, cause pain and disability for millions of Americans. This fact is disturbing because almost all oral diseases can be prevented." (CDC)
  • "Tooth loss has more than cosmetic effects—it may contribute to nutrition problems by limiting the types of food that a person can eat." (CDC)

Avoiding tobacco products, spending a few minutes after each meal on dental hygiene, and selecting healthy foods have been shown to improve both current and future quality of life. Check Behind Your Smile, for information on your mouth and teeth. For more detailed and technical information please see the Merck Manual.

Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has these resources related to dental health:


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