October is National Dental Hygiene Month, when the focus is on the important work of dental hygienists, and good oral health.
The Dental Health Program at the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) supports good oral health for all Virginians. VDH dental hygienists work throughout the state to provide dental services and education. These dental hygienists work remotely in schools, providing dental cleanings, sealants and education. They also work in WIC clinics providing fluoride varnish and education to young children and their families.
Other VDH dental programs focus on adult oral health and chronic disease and people with special health care needs, both of which rely on dental hygienists to help adults get equitable access to dental care.
Oral disease at any age can cause infections that lead to problems with eating, speaking and learning. More than 40 percent of adults have reported feeling pain in their mouth within the last year and more than 80 percent will have had at least one cavity by age 34, according to the CDC.
Poor oral health can lead to severe gum disease and tooth loss and is associated with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Regular dental visits can help prevent cavities and gum disease and lead to the early detection of oral cancer.
Learn more about dental hygiene on the VDH Oral Health page where you’ll find information about programs, help finding a dentist for people with special healthcare needs along with facts, figures and other resources.