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Hygienist helps take bite out of tooth decay - York Region Community


February 09, 2009 05:21 PM

Amanda Persico

Health and wellness starts with the mouth.

Robyn Kempe, a registered dental hygienist, is fighting plaque for those who can't afford regular dental care. This weekend, as part of the Gift from the Heart initiative, Ms Kempe is opening her chair for people in need.

"I don't know who will come," the Sharon resident said. "But I'm ready to take on any challenge."

And dental hygiene is a global challenge. The No. 1 disease in children in every country is cavities, Ms Kempe said. It could be attributed to the amount of candy and sugar consumed in North America, but there are other factors, too.

"You'd think we'd have it figured out by now, especially here," Ms Kempe said. "But in other countries, there is no access to regular vitamin C, calcium and fluoride. It's the No. 1 disease and yet it's so preventable." dental hygienist

The key to oral hygiene is prevention, as easy as brushing, flossing and reducing the amount of sugar intake.

"We're the front line in catching those small things early," Ms Kempe said. "Simple steps can prevent the disease process."

With growing research on the links between gum disease, heart disease and diabetes, gum disease, if caught early, can be reversible, Ms Kempe said.

"Prevention keeps teeth for life," she said. "It's better for the body as a whole - oral and overall wellness."

One of the main deterrents for people who don't climb into the dentist's chair on a regular basis is lack of dental care coverage, Ms Kempe said. Those affected by financial constraints include seniors, retirees and children of low-income families.

"With children, if their diet is poor, the quality of enamel will be poor," Ms Kempe said. "It's all about home care."

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