100 Years of Dental Hygiene

Sponsored by Wrigley!

Since the 1930’s, Wrigley (the proud maker of Orbit gum) has been a leader in research to understand gum’s role in the oral care routine. As such, at least 25 national dental organizations around the world support an oral care routine that includes check-ups, brushing, flossing, rinsing and chewing sugarfree gum when on-the-go. ;xNLx;;xNLx;Active in 47 countries, the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP) is designed to help dental professionals and patients worldwide better understand how gum can impact oral health. ;xNLx;;xNLx;In the U.S., Orbit gum is pleased to partner with the ADHA to help educate the dental community as well as millions of Americans about the important oral health benefits of chewing sugarfree gum. ;xNLx;;xNLx;We congratulate the ADHA on 100 years of dental hygiene!

1913-09-29 09:00:00

Dr. Fones establishes first Dental Hygiene program

Dr. Fones establishes the first Dental Hygiene education program in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

1914-11-01 09:00:00

First class of Dental Hygienists graduates

First class of 27 dental hygienists graduate in November and begin to work in public schools.

1915-01-02 21:38:34

First Dental Hygienist employed outside of public school setting

The first Dental Hygienist is employed outside of a public school setting, in New Haven Hospital.

1915-01-03 21:38:34

Connecticut Dental Practice Act defines dental hygiene

Connecticut Dental Practice Act defined the practice of dental hygiene.

1916-01-03 21:38:34

Columbia defines educational requirement

Columbia is the first school of Dental Hygiene to have definite educational requirements.

1917-07-01 21:38:34

First Dental Hygiene License is to Irene Newman

Dr. Fones assistant graduates from his program and becomes the first licensed dental hygienist.

1918-11-01 00:00:00


Thomas Forsyth, one of the founders of the Forsyth Infirmary for Children, presenting diplomas to the Class of 1918 of the Forsyth School for Dental Hygienists.

1919-01-29 21:38:34

Minnesota institutes two-year program

Minnesota institutes a two-year Dental Hygiene program.

1920-11-01 00:00:00

Six States have licensed dental hygienists

According to Wilma Motley's History of the American Dental Hygienists' Association, six states had licensed dental hygienists in 1920.

1921-11-01 00:00:00

New Zealand Dental Nurses

New Zealand begins training dental nurses (now called dental therapists) to go out to schools and provide basic dental care for the children.

1923-09-01 21:38:34

The American Dental Hygienists' Association is organized

The American Dental Hygienists' Association is organized in September with 46 members present.

1923-11-01 00:00:00

ADHA Charters First States

List of dates that states were chartered, based on the ADHA Meeting Minutes.

1924-04-01 00:00:00

Hawaii Dental Hygiene

While miles from the contintential United States coast, Hawaii is one of the first states with licensed Dental Hygienists.

1924-07-01 00:00:00

List of ADHA Presidents

List of all the ADHA Presidents. Click "Find Out More" to see the photo enlarged!

1926-11-01 00:00:00

Top Music

What were the hygienists listening to? Here is a top song in the 1920's.

1926-11-01 00:00:00

Dental Hygiene Growth

Thirty states have licensed dental hygienists.

1927-07-01 21:38:34

ADHA First Publication

The Journal of the ADHA begins a monthly publication.

1927-12-01 00:00:00

ADHA is Incorporated

ADHA is incorporated in 1927. The Seal of Incorporation is designed and adopted by the ADHA in 1928.

1930-12-01 00:00:00

First “Benefits of Chewing” Study Was Conducted

Independent research supported by Wrigley funding has continued to have an impact on the oral care arena for nearly 80 years. Through a fellowship with Northwestern University in the United States in the 1930s, researchers discovered the dental health benefits of chewing sugarfree gum and continued to explore that relationship in the following decades.

1931-01-01 00:00:00


1932-11-01 00:00:00

Top Music

What were the hygienists listening to? Here is a top song in the 1930's.

1933-11-01 00:00:00

Dental Hygiene Care to the Public

A dental hygienist makes a rural home visit in Coahoma County, Mississippi, as the first step in dental health care.

1935-07-01 21:38:34

ADA and ADHA recommend "high school graduate" as requirement

ADA and ADHA recommend "high school graduate" as one requirement for licensure.

1938-11-01 00:00:00

Nylon Toothbrush

The nylon toothbrush is on the market as the first toothbrush made with synthetic bristles.

1939-07-01 21:38:34

University of Michigan offers baccalaureate degree

University of Michigan offers baccalaureate degree in Dental Hygiene.

1939-11-01 00:00:00

Educating Children

The Children’s entrance at the Forsyth Dental Infirmary.

1940-01-03 21:38:34

ADHA recommends course of study for DH to be two years

ADHA recommends course of study for Dental Hygiene to be two years.

1940-11-01 00:00:00

Dental Hygiene Operatory

Typical dental hygiene operatory from the 1940's.

1941-11-01 00:00:00

Top Music

What were the hygienists listening to? Here is a 1940's hit.

1944-11-01 00:00:00

Dental Hygiene Salary

The average pay for a dental hygienist is twenty to twenty-five dollars a week.

1945-11-01 00:00:00

Fluoride in Water

Grand Rapids, Michigan, becomes the first city in the world to fluoridate its drinking water.

1945-11-01 00:00:00

Forsyth School for Dental Hygiene in Boston

The Forsyth School for Dental Hygienists was founded in Boston in 1917. This photo was taken in 1945 there while the students treating patients in the clinic.

1945-11-01 00:00:00

New Jersey

New Jersey forms the New Jersey Dental Hygienists’ Association, however it is not legal to practice dental hygiene in that state at the time.

1945-12-01 00:00:00

Gracey Curettes

Dr. Clayton Gracey partners with the Hu-Friedy’s founder, Hugo Friedman, to develop the original Gracey curettes.

1946-01-03 21:38:34

Quiz Questions

The photos featured here were in the 1946 Journal of Dental Hygiene, where they asked "fundamental and incidental facts".

1946-12-01 00:00:00


Click here for the enlarged quiz answers!

1947-01-03 21:38:34

Minimum standards for Dental Hygiene programs adopted

The minimum standards for Dental Hygiene programs is adopted.

1948-11-01 00:00:00

ADHA Oath adopted


1949-11-01 00:00:00

Malaysia Dental Nurse

Malaysia starts a Dental Nurse program to train women to work in the schools.

1949-11-01 00:00:00

ADHA adopted the term “registered dental hygienist” as the official credential of the profession.

ADHA adopted the term “registered dental hygienist” as the official credential of the profession.

1951-11-01 00:00:00

Setting the Standards

ADA Council on Dental Education.

1952-07-01 21:38:34

All states license Dental Hygienists

All states license Dental Hygienists!

1952-07-29 21:38:34

Accreditation of Dental Hygiene programs begins

The accreditation of Dental Hygiene programs begins.

1955-11-01 00:00:00

Fluoride-containing toothpaste

The first clinically proven fluoride-containing toothpaste is out on the market.

1956-11-01 00:00:00

Top Music

What were the hygienists listening to? Here is a top song in the 1950's.

1957-11-01 00:00:00

Equality in the ADHA

Membership restrictions to the ADHA based on race, creed, or color are deleted.

1957-12-01 00:00:00

March Fong Eu

March Fong Eu was an ADHA president, serving in 1957. She goes on to be elected Secretary of State of California in 1974, becoming the first Asian American woman ever elected to a state constitutional office in the United States. President Bill Clinton appointed her as United States Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia in 1994.

1957-12-01 00:00:00

First Dental Ultrasonic Scaler introduced

In 1957, DENTSPLY pioneered ultrasonic scaling with the introduction of the first standalone dental ultrasonic scaler. The unit operated at 25K, was manually tuned and operated using 3 electronic vacuum tubes. The ability of the ultrasonic scaler to use water to cool the tip and provide lavage combined with ultrasonic energy to fracture and remove hard and soft deposits of plaque and calculus made routine scaling of teeth much more efficient for clinicians At this point in time, the ultrasonic scaler was reserved only for the removal of heavy supragingival calculus. This was due to concerns of potential root surface damage and the focus of periodontal therapy on scaling and root planning to achieve root surfaces free of calculus deposit and planed to the smoothness of glass. Much has changed since 1957. Today ultrasonic instrumentation is a well-established and evidence based method for deposit removal. Ultrasonic instrumentation greatly enhances the ability of dental care providers to maximize patient therapy outcomes. For over 50 years, Cavitron® Systems have been a mainstay in the dental office. Since then, DENTSPLY Professional has continued to make improvements based on the most current research and the needs of clinicians and patients.

1958-11-01 00:00:00

Sigma Phi Alpha

Sigma Phi Alpha is founded by Esther Wilkens, Margaret Bailey, Janet Burnham, and Evelyn Mass.

1958-11-01 00:00:00

Fully Reclining Dental Chair

A fully reclining dental chair is invented and introduced on the market.

100 Years of Dental Hygiene

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