The seventh program learning outcome adopted from the national competencies for an entry-to-practice dental hygienist is the dental hygienist as an oral health educator.a��
According to the a�?Entry-To-Practice Competencies and Standards for Canadian Dental Hygienists January 2010a��, a�?Education: The application of teaching and learning principles to facilitate the development of specific attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behavioursa�?  with particular emphasis on oral health and its relationship to general health.
This competency is important in that dental hygienists are to have knowledge and apply the knowledge in basic educational theory to their work with clients.A� Clients have different learning styles, for example.A� Hearing information from the dental hygienist may not be as effective as actually doing/practising what is being taught on oral care, or reading about the information. Behaviour change is also a part of the learning process in education that dental hygienists must know how to implement in order to modify behaviour like daily flossing habits or smoking cessation.
As a result, some examples of abilities that dental hygiene students are expected to demonstrate as clinical therapists are as follows:
- Provide client with a visual representation of the condition being discussed. Allow time for the client to practice a new skill with your guidance.
- Question clients about their current self-care habits and the challenges they face.
- Interview clients about their understandings of their oral conditions and what has caused them.
- Identify the clientsa�� interest in setting a date to quit smoking. Ask the client to identify a realistic goal for flossing frequency.
Dental hygienists are teachers as well!
 Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA). Policy framework for dental hygiene education. Ottawa, ON: CDHA, 2002.