Intro Poster Fo

National Dental Hygiene Month, F as in fat, antioxidants and hydroxyapatite

Oct. 5, 2012
With October being National Dental Hygiene Month, FOCUS Editorial Director Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, explains that an emphasis on community service and the day-to-day efforts reflects the true spirit of the cause. Other topics covered in this issue include the far-reaching effects of obesity and treating dental caries via antioxidants and hydroxyapatite.
Welcome to National Dental Hygiene Month! This year’s collaboration improves on last year’s new NDHM format by providing further focus on consumer information about oral disease prevention, including a Spanish and English Radio Media Tour and four new Spanish translated fact sheets. Focusing on community service and the day-to-day efforts of dental hygienists nationwide is what NDHM is all about! Read the entire section in this newsletter dedicated to providing you resources to celebrate NDHM in your community!
Despite past successes, considerable public health challenges continue and they represent serious threats to our nation’s health and to our health care system in terms of cost and capacity. Of particular concern are rising rates of non-communicable chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer. In 2005, nearly half of adults, 133 million, had at least one chronic illness.(1) Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. BMI of 25-29.9 is considered overweight, and BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered healthy. In 1990, the prevalence of adult obesity was at or below 15 percent in all states. In 2000, only one state (Colorado) still had an adult obesity prevalence below 15 percent. Still, in more than half of states, the prevalence was below 20 percent, and no state had a prevalence at or above 30 percent.(2) As of 2010, every state has an adult obesity prevalence of at least 20 percent. Furthermore, twelve states (up from nine states in 2009) have a prevalence of 30 percent or more. See an interactive map of these changes.(3) The IOM estimates that reducing the prevalence of adult obesity by 50 percent, about the same relative reduction as was achieved through public health’s multi-faceted attack on smoking prevalence during the latter decades of the 20th century, could create a $58 billion reduction in annual U.S. medical care expenditures.(3) A publication is available online that discusses revitalizing public health, investing in a healthier future, and bolstering public health investment to improve health outcomes in the United States.(4)
Last, but not least, Karen Davis writes about antioxidants in oral health care, specifically "Antioxidants and hydroxyapatite–multifaceted approach to combat dental caries." Research has shown a link between the health of oral tissues and overall systemic health. The link between inflammation, oxidative stress and systemic disease is a significant area of interest in medicine, particularly in vascular medicine. Saliva is a natural defense mechanism against bacteria and other substances harmful to health. Research is confirming that antioxidants are among the most important elements in saliva, and that they help protect against diseases including oral diseases and oral cancer. A good source for information about the links among antioxidants, oral health, and overall systemic health is Companies such as Periosciences (AO ProVantage) and provide antioxidants for oral use.
Thanks Karen, for your contribution!

1. Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 2010. Available at:
2. Adult Obesity Facts. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, updated April 2012. Available online at:
4. For the Public’s Health: Investing in a Healthier Future. Washington, D.C.: Institute of Medicine, April 2012. Available online at:


Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS

To read previous RDH eVillage FOCUS introductions by Maria Perno Goldie, go to introductions.