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Tanya L. Smith, RDH, BS

Tanya L. Smith, RDH, BS
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Tanya L. Smith, RDH, BS has been a clinical dental hygienist in private practice in Tucson, AZ, since graduating from Rio Salado College in 2011. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene at Northern Arizona University, Summa Cum Laude, in 2014. A regular volunteer at St. Elizabeth’s Health Center Dental Clinic, she also enjoys writing, research, and travel in her spare time.

Keeping a Grateful Heart in Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene is a highly rewarding profession that allows us to serve our communities. We help patients maintain an important part of their overall health, sometimes contributing to transformations that allow people to smile again. We grow with our patients and their families over time, and those we work with on a daily basis become like family. However, as...

Oral Cancer: Update on Dangers of Smokeless Tobacco for Dental Hygienists

The Oral Cancer Foundation states the average age of a first-time smokeless tobacco user is just 10 years old. As seen with the recent trends in vaping, tobacco companies consistently use flavoring and fun packaging to entice younger customers to buy products that are ultimately addictive and damaging to their health. Smokeless tobacco users absorb two to three times the...

The Amazing Oral Health Benefits of Pumpkins

Cooler weather, colorful leaves, and warm drinks around a fire are some of the indications that autumn has arrived, but none are more emblematic than the appearance of pumpkin-inspired treats and décor over-flowing from store shelves. Many sweet treats that come to mind may not strike you as dental hygiene-friendly, but the pumpkin is surprisingly good for your oral...

Oral Piercing, Tattooing: RDHs Can Help Inform Patients about Body Modifications

Self-expression comes in many forms, including body modifications such as tattoos and piercings. Intraoral or perioral piercings and tattoos are more popular than ever. The awareness of how these changes may affect oral health, however, is minimal. Dental hygienists can help answer patient questions concerning oral modifications, provide information about associated risks, and educate on after-care for the best...

Taste Disorders: What Dental Hygienists Need to Know to Help Patients

Loss of taste is often regarded as less important when compared to vision and hearing loss. It is poorly studied because taste loss is not considered serious or life-threatening. The sense of taste, however, is essential to the overall health of dental patients.4 Also known as dysgeusia, taste disorders can be frustrating for patients and may negatively affect psychological well-being,...

Understanding the Monetary Value of the “Essential” Dental Hygienist

Dental professionals could have never imagined a time when dental offices across the country would close with only emergency services deemed essential. The shutdowns imposed on dental offices were meant to shift personal protective equipment to where it was needed most. This created conversations in the dental community on social media filled with worry, confusion, and anger. Most shocking were...

A Dental Hygienist’s Refresher on Tuberculosis

One of the most important aspects of an appointment is reviewing health histories with patients.  Every dental hygienist has experienced that moment, where one checked box sends our minds searching for the right questions to determine if it is safe to proceed with treatment for both the patient and ourselves. Tuberculosis tends to be one of those recurring conversation topics...

Salivary Diagnostics Can Help Bridge Systemic Health for Dental Hygienists

In dentistry, saliva has traditionally been more of a nuisance than anything else. Dental hygienists know the constant struggle of trying to keep patients from choking during a prophy or attempting to keep a tooth dry when placing a sealant. Yet, what if saliva holds the key to integrating medicine and dentistry? Salivary diagnostics is an insightful tool that dental...

Reviewing the Relationship of Mental Health with Dental Hygiene Care

Dentistry can be associated with anxiety, phobias, and acute stress. Conversely, these psychological disorders can be associated with dental diseases such as erosion, caries, and periodontal disease.5 Stress, anxiety, and depression may negatively affect the catabolic and anabolic pathways the body uses to react and adjust to reestablish homeostasis. The body’s response to stress is to activate the sympathetic...

Peroxide Use in Dentistry: Is it Safe for Oral Health Care?

Every so often, a patient will admit to rinsing regularly with undiluted 3% hydrogen peroxide. If you’re anything like me, your mind immediately envisions a thick, black, carpet-like tongue coating in the near future. Thankfully, peroxides have been used safely in dentistry since first introduced in 1913 as a treatment for “pyorrhea.”4 When used in a controlled manner, peroxides...