Rewriting the job description

Sometimes new science and discoveries come along to rewrite the job description for an industry or profession. Think of the Internet and its redefinition of the community library, for example.

A similar situation may well be emerging in hygiene– er, let’s call it oral healthcare for reasons given below.

Recently, the bidirectional linkage between oral heath and cognitive decline has heated up. If your patients haven’t already asked you about it, read this article.

At least one oral microorganism, P. gingivalis, is strongly implicated in Alzheimer’s.

Management of P. gingivalis is the purview of the hygienist, more than any other healthcare professional. Along with certain other pathogens at the gum line such as Treponema denticola, “Pg” is the target of scaling and root planing.

So this new discovery may well increase the awareness, application for, the venue and urgency of hygiene services. The job description of the hygienist may well be changing — primarily because the patient and the family wants it to.

Are we getting ready?