Check it Out: 8 Fun Facts About Dental Hygienists

Check it Out: 8 Fun Facts About Dental Hygienists

Did you know Dental Hygienists do more than clean teeth?  Check out these 8 surprising fun facts about the wonderful world of Dental Hygienists.


For many of us, dental hygienists are individuals who clean our teeth and make sure we don’t have cavities. Or is that a Dentist? Before we get into the facts about what dental hygienists do, let’s figure out what a dental hygienist is. A dental hygienist or oral hygienist is a licensed dental professional, who assess oral health, perform oral therapeutic services, and assist the dentist.  Hygienists work to keep your teeth clean and protect your overall health.

Dental Hygienists Save Lives 

Known for impeccable teeth cleaning, a dental hygienist does more than clean teeth. A dental hygienist performs oral assessments, administer cancer screenings, X-rays, and develops life-saving programs to treat underlying issues.

Did you know?

 Studies have shown the link between heart disease, or bone disease, and oral health. 

Saving lives by design

Visiting a dental hygienist and receiving oral treatment can help reduce a patient’s chances of developing these complications. By treating gum disease, you’re able to prevent heart attacks. Receiving cleanings and visiting hygienists can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke. Treating plaque buildup could decrease the chance of heart disease as plaque build-up may trigger heart attacks.  Dental hygienists assess individual oral health, evaluate, and develop individual patient-focused programs with the help of patients to improve their health, all while educating them with preventative measures.

Note: According to Adha, 37 states allow dental hygienists to treat patients without a dentist present.

Dental Hygienists are the Chameleons of the dental world

Did you know hygienists work in other sectors?  Aside from private offices and clinics,  dental hygienists provide preventive and therapeutic services in schools, daycare facilities, nursing, and long-term facilities. 

You’ll find hygienists working hard as public health officials as researchers, educators, or administrators

Dental Hygienist Training with other titles

  • Dental Office Manager
  • Nursing Home Consultant
  • Community Clinic Administrator
  • Classroom or Clinical Instructor

 Not only are they able to adapt in different environments and use their expertise to care for patients in diverse communities and have skills to back it up.

Dental Hygienists have many skills

Dental Care calls for several skills, knowledge, and training. For dental hygienists, some of these skills include interpersonal communication and patient care techniques. They are also professional problem solvers. For oral care, every patient has unique challenges. Hygienist research and work with patients to develop individual programs to meet their needs.

Other skills include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Equipment knowledge and everyday use i.e how to use sharp tools to extract or clean teeth
  • Diagnostic/analytical/assessment skills
  • Clinical knowledge.

Check it out: All these skills are transferable skills. So if a hygienist wanted to switch to nursing, law, public health, researching, or teaching, these skills would come in handy. 

Dental Hygienists are High In Demand

The demand for dental hygienists has increased over the years, with over 200,000 dental hygienists in the U.S. With studies showing links between total health and oral health and the population ages, more focused has placed on the dental industry. According to the Bureau of Labor (BLS), dental hygienist opportunities have increased by11%, higher than the average for all occupations, and projected to grow by 33% by 2022. 

Top 5 Best States to be a DH in 2018 *median income included*

  • California ($ 100,830)
  • New York ($76,280)
  • Texas ($75,300)
  • Pennsylvania ($67,010)
  • Florida ($64,070)

Note: According to the BLS, most dental hygienists work part time with a median salary of about was about $76,000 but vary based on location and full-time/part-time status*

Minimal Schooling with Extensive Training

You’re probably wondering why a school or extensive training would be a fun fact, but it is.  The educational requirements are minimal, this means you can enter the career field quickly. To become a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH(you need to graduate with a two-year degree and 2000 hours of coursework and clinical experience. While studying, you’re able to train and work at dental facilities and receive on-the-job training; supervised by a professional dentist.  Some schools offer four-year degrees in dentistry, with bachelors or graduate degree, you can become an administrator, researcher, or educator, plus an increase in pay. 

Note: The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) is the only agency approved by the USDE to accredit dental hygiene education programs. There are several hundred CODA-accredited dental hygiene programs in the United States. State licensure requirements: Hygienist must pass a national written examination, and a state or regional clinical examination.

Dental Hygienists have the Funniest and Relatable Stories 

Dental hygienists have many interesting and relatable stories. Some have stories about why they chose this profession and hope to accomplish, and others share patient and dental horror stories. If you want to know more about the world of dental hygienist, check out the links below:

  • Looking for dental hygienist blogs to follow? Check out Microcopy Dental’s 10 Dental Hygienist blogs to follow.
  • Check out Hygiene Edge to stay up to date, job advice i.e get a job during the pandemic, and training videos.
  • Tales from the chair: Check out some funny patient stories from hygienists.

Dental Hygienists are always on the move

If you love solving unique challenges, communicating with diverse individuals, and The life of a dental hygienist is a rewarding and busy one. Dental hygienist tasks include making the diagnosis, preparing a diagnostic test for the dentist to interpret. As a clinical dental hygienist, you’re interacting with diverse groups, educating patients on preventative care, facilitating treatment, and x-rays. All while communicating the needs of patients to patients and dentists. 

Women Dominate the Dental Hygienist Profession

Finally, did you know that women dominate the field of dentistry?

Since 2001, women have dominated the world of oral health, with about 32% of female dentists and approximately 95% of all dental hygienists and assistants; 60% practicing under the age of 44.  Women in dentistry, especially dental hygienists, are shifting and influencing what they teach in the classroom and community.  

Did you know, 14% of the American Association of Public Health in Dentistry presidents were women? Female leadership has positively affected the practice of dentistry. This change has led to more involvement in public policy, produced better health outcomes, and improved patient quality of care. 

Did any of these facts surprise you? Do you know any fun facts about dental hygienists? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the author

Joycelyn Ghansah

Joycelyn Ghansah is a former Healthcare Organizer with a background public health, include reproductive and sexual health. When she's not freelance writing, she's transcribing interviews and researching ways to strengthen healthcare labor laws.

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