In celebration of National Dental Hygienists Week – which runs April 8 to 14 – senior students from Niagara College’s Dental Hygiene program are boosting awareness for their chosen profession by hosting an event at the Welland Campus to promote oral health.
The event included interactive displays on how to properly brush your teeth, the dangers of sugar and sugar substitutes (xylitol), whitening and dental myths, facts on bad breathe, smoking and oral cancer.
“Xylitol is a great sugar substitute, it’s a natural sweetener derived from breech trees, and it helps to kill the bacteria in your mouth, stimulate saliva flow and help prevent cavities. It’s so much better for you and it’s better for people have diabetes because it doesn’t change your sugar levels in your body,” said Cydney Cowperthwaite, second-year Dental Hygiene student.
Dental Hygiene students also performed free oral exams on students and staff, and promoted all the dental services that they offer. The dental services are not only for Niagara College students but for anyone in our community, and they are all offered at a reduced rate. They offer screenings, cleaning, fillings, sealants and x-rays.
“We really want more students to come and see us and really be aware of their oral health, not that they don’t care about it but we want them to put more effort into it. We are right on campus and are available until August so they can come in anytime,” said second-year Dental Hygiene student Alicia Mleczek. “When they come and see us, it is way more educational, we do a lot of oral health coaching. We have two hour appointments instead of the standard 45 minutes they give you in a dentist’s office. That way we can make the most out of the two visits a year.”
The event was a great success and had many students walking through and looking at all the different booths, playing games and trying out the treats the dental students had prepared.
The Oral Cancer Foundation assisted the students by providing brochures and screening kits.