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October is “National Dental Hygiene Month” in the United States – an annual observance to recognize the work or efforts of dental hygienists and spread the word about the importance of oral health. Sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA), the month-long campaign aims to stress the fact that good oral health goes a long way in supporting one’s overall well-being. Dental hygiene refers to the practice of keeping the mouth, teeth, and gums clean and healthy to prevent diseases. Practicing proper oral hygiene activities like brushing your teeth, gums and tongue daily, paired with visiting a dental provider regularly, can greatly reduce the risk of cavities, tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems. The earlier one practices proper oral hygiene habits (like proper brushing, flossing, limiting the intake of sugar) the easier it will be to evade costly dental procedures. Regular dental check-ups and good brushing and flossing habits are the best protection against different dental problems. Dentists offering treatment for various dental problems need to ensure that the medical billing and coding for the same is done appropriately on the medical claims. Relying on the services of an established dental billing company would be a practical solution for timely claim filing and correct reimbursement.

As per reports from the World Health Organization (WHO), about 60-90 percent of school children have at least one dental cavity. It is estimated that nearly 100 percent of adults suffer from at least one dental cavity. Toothache, bleeding or swollen gums, pain with chewing or biting, loose teeth, ulcers, sores, or tender areas in the mouth are some of the common symptoms of dental problems. Treatment for dental conditions may vary, depending on the specific condition a person suffers from and generally includes medications, fluoride treatments, cleanings, root canal, probiotics and oral surgery (in more severe cases).

The awareness month campaign aims to bring together thousands of health professionals, educators and other healthcare providers to promote the benefits of good oral health among children and adults. The 2019 campaign is focusing on four routines that can help people maintain healthy smiles and these include – brush, floss, rinse and chew. According to MouthHealthy.org, (the ADA’s consumer website), the ADA recommends brushing one’s teeth twice a day, for two minutes, with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of the brush should fit the mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily. Maintaining those habits not only reduces the risks of cavities and infections but also the costs associated with long-term dental repairs.

Diagnosis of dental problems may begin with an examination of teeth in order to check for pain and sensitivity. Dental X-rays may also be taken to analyze the extent of damage. Treatment modalities for common dental problems include – root canals, tooth extractions, treatments, fillings (also called restorations), custom fitted coverings and fluoride treatments. The diagnosis and treatment procedures administered by dentists or periodontists must be carefully documented using the right medical codes. Billing and coding services offered by experienced medical billing and coding companies ensure this so that accurate claims submissions are done. ICD-10 codes used for some common dental problems include –

  • K00 – Disorders of tooth development and eruption
  • K02 – Dental caries
  • K05 – Gingivitis and periodontal diseases
  • K05.2 – Aggressive periodontitis
  • K05.3 – Chronic periodontitis
  • K13.7 Other and unspecified lesions of oral mucosa
  • M26.6 – Temporomandibular joint disorders
  • R19.6 – Halitosis

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company have been teaming together during National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM) since 2009, with the ADHA and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP) working collaboratively to increase public awareness about the importance of maintaining good oral health.

The ADHA, as part of the event posts a huge amount of information on their website emphasizing the need for maintaining oral health at all stages of life. Good breath, strong teeth, and clean gums are all important parts of oral health. A wide range of activities including free dental screening, displaying posters and presentations is carried out throughout the month of October. People can take part in this campaign by posting their smile pictures on social media platforms. Flash your biggest, best smile, snap a picture, and use #DentalHygieneMonth to post on social media.

Understanding proper brushing and flossing techniques and eating a well-balanced diet can help in maintaining dental hygiene. It is also essential to visit your hygienist on a regular basis to help remove tartar build-up and detect any potential dental problems before they worsen. This can help you save money by avoiding costly dental treatments in the long run.

Participate in the 2019 National Dental Hygiene Month in October! Educate people about the need for practicing good oral hygiene habits.