In 1998, the House of Delegates of the International Federation of Dental Hygiene requested that the education committee of the federation develop curriculum guidelines to serve as models for countries that were initiating dental hygiene educational programmes. This article reviews the process of guideline development, identifies challenges and directions for the future. A review of topics, goal and descriptions of 2, 3 and 4 years is presented. The process of development of the guidelines provided an opportunity for discussion of differences in dental hygiene paradigm from various countries. Participants began to understand the legal, cultural and educational differences that have an impact on curriculum for health care. It is a beginning in the process of developing international educational standards in dental hygiene education.