Barbara MacDonald Traces the History
and Current Practice of Dental Hygiene
Our presentation on Monday, May 9, was an informative and helpful overview of the history and importance of dental hygiene, given my Barbara MacDonald, a local dental hygienist. She and her dentist-husband Don (a member of our Club) provide dental services in Ventura.
Starting with the history of dental hygiene, Barbara stated that early "treatments" (principally extractions) were performed by barbers. In the early 1900s, Dr. Alfred Fones is credited with starting the dental hygiene profession when he trained his chair-side assistant to clean teeth and perform other preventive measures on children. Barbara noted that 335 U.S. educational institutions offer degrees in dental hygiene at various levels.
"Controlling bacteria growth is the key to dental health," said Barbara. "DNA mapping has shown that oral bacteria can establish itself in other parts of the body, which forms a link to various systemic diseases, including some forms of cancer, arteriosclerosis, and heart disease. An increased risk of Alzheimers Disease has also been proven."
Noting that 50 percent of U.S. adults over 30 have some form of periodontal disease, Barbara stressed the importance of proper dental care a home as well as regular professional dental exams and cleaning. "It's more than just a cleaning," Barbara stressed. An hour appointment includes a blood pressure check, oral cancer exam, x-rays, measuring the pockets surrounding the teeth, as well as a thorough cleaning.
"Bacteria always wins," said Barbara. "It regenerates in the mouth every four to five hours." It's safe to say that those of us in attendance no doubt brushed a little longer than usual before bed that evening. Thanks, Barbara, for a most informative and helpful presentation!