Many Americans suffer from poor oral health, which can have profound negative consequences on overall health and quality of life. Poor oral health is associated not only with oral health conditions, such as tooth decay and periodontal disease, but also with adverse pregnancy outcomes, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. In a recent report addressing access to oral health care, the Institute of Medicine identified restrictive regulation of allied dental professionals, such as dental hygienists, as a barrier to accessing necessary dental care. Dental hygienists are licensed health professionals, trained and qualified to provide many oral health services.
This issue brief provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the scope of practice of dental hygienists in Mississippi. The legal provisions addressed in this document may have similar counterparts in other states.