Good News You Might Have Missed: A Dental Hygiene Update

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News is everywhere. Without even realizing it, we hop from story to story thanks to the ever-increasing availability of sources – radio, television, print, smartphone apps, social media, and more. Gone is the time of a family sitting down around the TV watching the six o’clock news, and the nation getting the same stories at the same time.

Smartphones tailor news content for the individual through social media apps by learning our preferences, building a digital curtain of information from each click and like. That said, sometimes interesting stories can get missed, such as these “good news” articles pertaining to dental hygiene.

Good News in the Classroom

A dental hygiene student at the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College has just seen color for the first time. Savannah Allen, a second-year dental hygiene student, focused on learning the skills necessary to become a dental hygienist. However, her color blindness nearly put a stop to her dream of completing the program and becoming a licensed practitioner. Seeing only shades of browns instead of reds and greens became more and more of a challenge when instructors noticed that she was leaving plaque behind on her patients’ teeth.11

Approximately 300 million people globally experience some type of color deficiency. 99% of those are red-green color blind like Savannah.5 Not wanting to see her give up on her dream career, her classmates pulled together to purchase a $400 pair of glasses that filter out light at frequencies where an “excessive overlap of color sensitivity occurs.”10 This helped her see a variety of shades of reds and greens for the first time that were previously blended together.

Good News at Work

The city of San Francisco has become the first major U.S. city to ban the sale of e-cigarettes.8 The city ordinance became law last June and went into effect in mid-July. Lawmakers in the city sought to halt the sale of e-cigarettes until the FDA had a chance to approve marketing for the devices. The city supervisors expressed concern over the increase of middle and high school students who reported vaping in the past year. Incidences are up to more than a million users within that age range from 2017 to 2018 (from 3.6 million to 4.9 million).4,9

This action in San Francisco took place just prior to panel findings by the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee that stated the e-cigarette company Juul specifically and directly marketed their products to children.6

The city of Dayton, Ohio, has just announced that it will no longer hire employees who are tobacco users.7 Those who are within their 90-day evaluation period currently will be tested for tobacco if there is “reasonable suspicion” of use. If they test positive, they will offer tobacco cessation services. If a second positive test occurs, they will be let go from their position. The city is hoping to promote a healthier workplace.7

Good News in Practice

Earlier this year, the American Dental Association updated its Code of Ethics, making it easier for patients with disabilities to get treatment. Many offices are faced with situations where they are not properly equipped to provide care for patients with special needs.

In the past, the standard had been to simply refuse care to these patients and hope they find it elsewhere. However, the ADA decided that was not in keeping with their intended ethical standards.

Thanks to the update, it is now required for dentists to provide a referral for any disabled patient seeking treatment, rather than simply turning them away from the practice. In fact, it specifies that dentists may not refuse to provide treatment to someone based on their disability in the same manner that they may not discriminate based on race, creed, color, sex, gender identity, or nationality.2

Dr. James Smith, Chair of the Council on Ethics Bylaws and Judicial Affairs, said of the changes “it’s the right thing to do.”3

Be it at school, work, or out in the great public sphere, good things are happening in and around the dental hygiene profession every day. Science and public policy continue to change as we learn new things about caring for our bodies.  Students come together to help one another through the epic journey that is dental hygiene school. And, while it may sometimes be difficult to find, there is a lot of good news out there.

References

  1. American Dental Association Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct (2019). Retrieved from https://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/principles-of-ethics-code-of-professional-conduct
  2. Bernhard, B. (2019) Dentists No Longer Permitted to Turn Away Patients Due to Disabilities. Retrieved from https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2019/02/28/dentists-turn-away-disabilities/26093/
  3. Burger, D. (2019) Federal Agency Thanks Association for Revising Code of Conduct https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2019-archive/january/federal-agency-thanks-association-for-revising-code-of-conduct
  4. Center for Disease Control. (2019) Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/index.htm
  5. Colour Blind Awareness – Colour Blindness. (2019) Retrieved from http://www.colourblindawareness.org/colour-blindness/
  6. Huet, E. (2019) Juul Targeted Children at Schools and Online, U.S. House Panel Says. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-26/juul-targeted-children-at-schools-and-online-u-s-house-panel-says?utm_campaign=news&utm_medium=bd&utm_source=applenews
  7. Kim, A. (2019) Dayton, Ohio Says New City Employees Can’t Use Tobacco. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/01/health/dayton-ohio-smoking-tobacco-ban-trnd/index.html?no-st=1564792312
  8. Madani, D. (2019) San Francisco Becomes First Major U.S. City to Ban e-cigarettes. Retireved from https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/san-francisco-becomes-first-major-u-s-city-ban-e-n1021741
  9. Mirbolouk, M., et al. (2018) Prevalence and Use of E-cigarettes Among U.S. Adults: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2016. Retrived from https://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/2698112/prevalence-distribution-e-cigarette-use-among-u-s-adults-behavioral
  10. Schmeder, A. (2018) How EnChroma Glasses Work. Retrieved from https://enchroma.com/blogs/beyond-color/how-enchroma-glasses-work
  11. Solomon, K. (2019) Colorblind Students’ Classmates Surprise Her With Corrective Glasses So She Can Pursue Her Dream. Retrieved from https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/colorblind-students-classmates-surprise-corrective-glasses-can-pursue-dream-completely-changed-life-163503387.html
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Aurora Graves DeMarco, BA, RDH, CDA
Aurora Graves DeMarco, BA, RDH, CDA, has been in the dental field since 2000 when she started as an on-the-job trained dental assistant. In 2006, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in English from Florida State University, and the following year received her certificate in dental assisting. Two years later, Aurora completed an associate’s degree in dental hygiene. Throughout her career, she has taken every opportunity to engage in the field of dentistry through clinical practice, volunteering, and education. For two years she served as President for the Greater Orlando Dental Hygienists’ Association (now the Central Florida Dental Hygienists’ Association) and enjoys being an active part in the promotion and progression of the field of dental hygiene. In addition to writing articles, Aurora has worked on updating two dental hygiene textbooks to new editions and looks forward to more projects that combine her love of writing with her love of teeth. She spends her free time chasing her dog, two cats, two kids, and her husband around their Florida home.