The five C’s keep dental hygienists focused
on community prevention
It’s that time of year when many new dental hygienists will be embarking on their new careers.
Also, it’s that time of year when many of us veteran
dental hygienists will attend graduation and promotion ceremonies
and reflect back on our life experiences since we became dental
Reflecting on my career, I believe that a great path for our
future, both for new graduates
and those of us with experience,
can be presented with the five
critique, community, and communication. The future should
be focused on how we as dental hygienists can contribute
value to society.
Commitment—Commitment means doing what we
plan to do. If we keep our commitment in professional
endeavors, we will continue to advance our programs. If
we commit to working together as dental hygienists, we
will become stronger and more unified as a profession.
Confidence—Confidence means having the courage to
try. Those of us who have tried have failed many times, but
when we believe in ourselves we know that the only thing
these failures have really accomplished is to teach us more.
Then we become more knowledgeable. With knowledge, there
is strength. When we are strong, we believe in ourselves. With
this confidence, we are better at working with others in the
profession to advance our practices.
Critique—Always remember to do what we did in dental
hygiene school. Critique everything, and always ask why, when,
how, and what? Don’t ever stop questioning the information
you receive. There is much value in this concept. Always realize
that everyone has something to teach us and that although
we have many constants in our lives, we also have many
changes. The best way to improve life is to keep questioning
art and science. Keep striving for improved solutions that are,
in a nutshell, our future.
Community—Always strive to help the community. This
may be as small as a
community of patients or
as large as a community service initiative.
Dental hygienists are responsible for helping
all in the community. As dental hygienists,
we are community leaders. Also remember
the importance of staying connected with the dental hy-
giene community. Professional socialization is necessary
if we truly want to improve our practices. We need other
dental hygienists to provide us with solutions, mentoring,
Communication—I kept the most important C for last.
Without communication, we cease to be a civilization, and
effective communication, as simple as it seems, is very difficult
to accomplish. As dental hygienists, we must communicate
our knowledge and skills to others, including patients, stake-
holders, and other dental hygienists. A dental hygienist must
be able to listen, collaborate, work with others, and most
importantly, communicate effectively. To be an effective dental
hygienist, it is always necessary to work with others for a
common goal. Remember the importance of consistent, con-
tinued communication with other dental hygienists. The only
true way we will evolve as a profession is to communicate.
Dental hygienists have tremendous power. We can
improve our patients’ oral health, promote and implement
community programs, and change lives through disease
prevention. With power comes responsibility. Dental hy-
gienists are responsible for being the primary promoters
of oral health in our communities and society as a whole.
So, remember the importance of working together as a
profession to promote dental hygiene! RDH
NATHE, RDH, MS, is
director at the University
of New Mexico, Division
of Dental Hygiene, in
Albuquerque, N.M. She is
also the author of “Dental
Public Health Research”
com/educator), which is
in its third edition with
Pearson. She can be
reached at cnathe@
salud.unm.edu or (505)
are responsible for
being the primary
promoters of oral
health in our
society as a whole.