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Prophix Blog

Let’s hear it for the hygienists!

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October is National Dental Hygiene Month—what better time to celebrate dental hygienists, the unsung heroes of your dentist’s office?

Hygienists have been around for over 100 years. In 1913, Dr. Alfred Fones, having trained his “chair-side assistant” Irene Newman to clean teeth, coined the term “dental hygienist” to refer to her. Together, they established the first dental hygiene school in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which rapidly gained popularity as patients treated via their methods suffered less tooth loss and decay. The state of Connecticut was so impressed that it issued the world’s first dental hygiene license to Newman in 1917.


Over the decades, hygienists have played a more and more vital role in professional oral
care. In addition to cleanings, hygienists may take x-rays, educate patients on proper oral care routines (including nutrition), and even administer programs to help patients quit smoking.

We all know how important it is that a visit to the dentist be positive and stress-free. A cheerful, patient, detail-oriented hygienist is instrumental in making patients comfortable and administering thorough, knowledgeable care.

Great hygienists are a huge part of a successful dental practice. Give yours a hearty thanks at your next visit!