Ethics Corner

Code of Ethics

Dental hygienists work in interprofessional collaborative environments. They are accountable to codes of ethics, in conjunction with professional standards, workplace policies, and laws and regulations that guide practices and behaviours. In achieving these requirements, they fulfill their contract with society to meet a high standard of ethical practice. Read the report describing the development of the Code of Ethics.

The CDHA Code of Ethics sets out the ethical principles and responsibilities which apply to all members of the dental hygiene profession across all practice areas including clinical care, education, research, administration and any other role related to the profession of dental hygiene.

In addition, the Ethical Guidelines for Educators helps educators to make professional decisions. It is grounded in 6 ethical principles and provides a framework of shared values.

Oh Canada! Talking Ethics

Oh Canada! is our membership-based publication that provides a forum for the communication of dental hygiene and oral health information, as well as product information and association news. Each issue contains a "Talking Ethics" column where members share common ethical dilemmas encountered during dental hygiene practice. Authors offer insight and share experiences about how to approach these complex cases. Read the articles by selecting the year below:

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Ignorance of Frailty and Palliative Oral Care

Ignorance of palliative dental hygiene oral care (PDHOC) is an ethical issue because it may lead to inadequate care and unnecessary suffering. When health care providers or caregivers are unaware of the importance of appropriate oral care techniques, inadequate or substandard care can result. Clients, patients, and/or residents of long-term care homes may experience pain and discomfort, which are both avoidable and ethically problematic.

The Strength of Our Professional Advocacy Serves the Vulnerable Members of Society

Canada’s new federal dental care program ranks highest in the ongoing advocacy work of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) on behalf of the profession and vulnerable people in Canada. The theme of this issue of Oh Canada! is “Treating vulnerable populations,” including medically compromised clients, clients in remote communities, and seniors.

Targeted Production Goals Affecting Access to Care

Overinflated targeted production goals in dental hygiene practice management are affecting access to care and presenting dental hygienists with an ethical dilemma. The topic should not be a whispered discussion among dental hygienists, but rather should be honestly framed so the narrative can be directed towards finding an ethical solution that sustains access to quality care and removes barriers to upholding the principles and responsibilities outlined in the Dental Hygienists’ Code of Ethics.