Endless opportunities for giving backNews
Posted by: The Probe 18th May 2020
Dental hygienists and dental therapists will be aware that their role as educators is an important part of their profession. However, when it comes to giving back to your local community by using these skills outside of practice, where do you begin?
Amber Ojak, Council member and Ambassador for the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) speaks about her experiences of helping individuals in her community, and gives tips on how dental hygienists and dental therapists can harness opportunities in their local areas to help spread good oral hygiene advice.
Take every chance
“Even since I was a student studying to become a dental hygienist, I’ve always really enjoyed getting involved in my local area and taking every opportunity to educate individuals. Giving back is one of the most positive aspects of the profession!
“In one of my first practices, we used to work with a charity that helped the local homeless community. This was a wonderful way to get the whole team involved in giving back, as well as the patients who visited the practice. We put a box in the waiting room area for people to donate items such as toothpaste, new toothbrushes etc. and once a month this box was taken to the local homeless shelter. As we all know, people in this situation can find it very difficult to access dental products, so this was a great way to give them a chance to look after their oral health and fill in any gaps of information that they might have.
“Another fantastic opportunity for dental hygienists and dental therapists to give back is to approach institutions such as schools or children’s clubs in your area. Whenever I go back to Yorkshire, I always arrange sessions with schools so that I can visit and give children a fun and interactive session about oral health. In our profession we’re aware that childhood tooth decay is a big problem, but some parents/guardians are not. This means if we can help educate them and their children, we can set them up with the good habits that will last a lifetime. I think it’s especially important that we focus on helping children because this age group often aren’t exposed to as much information about oral health as they could be. This means that they are at a greater risk of developing decay and other problems that could’ve easily been prevented.”
Wider opportunities and tips for speaking out
“I know that it may seem intimidating to approach schools and other organisations, but it’s really very easy. Often it’s as simple as sending an email to the school or group where you want to hold a session and working with them to arrange a time – you’d be surprised how excited most of these places are to get involved! It’s also good to keep the places you approach diverse – this way you can spread your message much further and target different members of the community to help people of all ages, backgrounds and opportunities get the information they need.
“It’s not all just about educating patients and those who need our help, and I have also held sessions speaking to university students who are studying to enter the profession as well. These talks were more about encouraging these individuals to think about reaching out to vulnerable members of their own communities during their time at university and after they’ve qualified. It was still a great way to inspire discussion among likeminded individuals.
“One of the big things I really promote during these university sessions is the massive benefits of joining a Society like the BSDHT. Being part of a Society really helps you feel like you have people in your corner, and as people of my age group and younger are the future, it’s important that we support these bodies so that they can continue to fight on our side and give us good representation. They are breaking down barriers for us, but they can only really do this with support of dental hygienists and dental therapists at all stages of their career.
“It’s for this reason I was thrilled to become a BSDHT Ambassador. I was the Student Ambassador for the Society when I was at university and I wanted to continue having an influential role so that I can keep spreading awareness and encouraging people to get involved, not only within their local communities, but also with the Society as well!”
To find out more about the BSDHT and its Ambassadors, please contact the team today.
For more information about the BSDHT, please visit www.bsdht.org.uk
call 01788 575050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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