One of the reasons Rebecca Nugent chose the field of dental hygiene was because she loves working with the general public to help improve their overall health and confidence.
Nugent is currently in her second year of the Dental Hygiene program at the Georgian College Barrie Campus.
“During an anatomy class in my pre-health program we talked about all the intra-oral structures – bones, ligaments and nerves etc. – I realized this was something I was interested in learning about in detail,” said Nugent.
“And as a student in an oral health program, we’re concerned with the rise of recent health trends and are eager to be at the front lines helping people battle disease and protect their oral health and general health for years to come.”
Nugent explained that April is the perfect month for people to invest in some dental health education and treatment.
“Not only is it Oral Health Month, but we’re also celebrating National Dental Hygienists week from April 6 to 12,” she said. “We’ll be wearing purple t-shirts on campus to celebrate and hosting our first Gift From the Heart event on Saturday, April 6.”
Gift from the Heart is a national event where registered dental hygienists from across Canada give back to their community by providing no-cost dental hygiene services to those in need.
“Our students will have the opportunity to not only apply their practical skills, but also experience health promotion and advocacy,” said Anne-Marie Conaghan, Dental Hygiene program co-ordinator. “This is one more way we strive to instil a sense of citizenship and pride for our students in their profession.”
While members of the public already have access to dental cleanings through Georgian’s Oral Health Clinic at a significantly reduced cost throughout the year, the focus for the April 6 event will be on oral health promotion and disease prevention.
“We’ll be covering topics such as the Canada’s new food guide, cannabis use and oral health, and collecting seniors’ perspectives on the lack of oral care to add to a provincial campaign,” said Conaghan.
Services offered will include oral cancer screenings, pit and fissure sealants, professionally applied fluoride, and denture cleaning and labelling.
“These clinics are very important to our learning. They give us opportunities to see different medical conditions and the many levels of disease and progression – healthy to severe periodontal disease,” said Nugent.
"They also allow us to apply the skills we’ve learned in the classroom into a practical setting. We can practise, learn and apply our new skills in a safe, supported environment alongside a registered dental hygienist who is there to help us identify areas in which we excel and those we may need to apply more focus on during our studies.”
There’re no charge to attend this event and the public can drop in any time between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The clinics are located on the main floor of the Sadlon Centre for Health, Wellness and Sciences (M building) in the reception area.
Georgian’s Dental Hygiene students are offering a selection of dental services and health education during their Gift From the Heart event on Saturday, April 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.