Virtual oral health education reaches nearly 800 keiki during pandemic

graphic of keiki with tooth and brush

When the COVID-19 pandemic eradicated in-individual clinical encounters for health sciences learners at the College of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, faculty in the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene got imaginative to satisfy the requirement for dental cleanliness (DH) college students. They created an substitute medical practical experience which allowed the college students to give virtual oral health and fitness training to UH‘s Head Get started partners and almost 800 keiki and people through the state. Head Begin is a federally funded plan that provides early childhood schooling and in depth expert services for lower-money households with small children ages 3 to 5 a long time aged.

The modern DH medical experience was provided from August 2020 right until April 2021. 20 DH pupils conducted virtual periods and provided well being education and learning to 53 Head Begin lecture rooms achieving 775 little ones and their households applying Zoom. With help from Gerraine Hignite, oral wellbeing manager for the Hawaiʻi Keiki Dental Sealant Software, and Lynn Fujimoto Ertel, dentist and dental cleanliness affiliate professor, the college students created presentations on several dental health and fitness subjects, followed by a dilemma and answer session. Every Head Commence little one was also despatched a cost-free dental kit to use at dwelling.

In addition to the digital classes, Head Start off workers were supplied with voiced-about displays of each individual session for potential use in their classrooms to serve the desires of their households.

A precious choice

student hygenist with patient
The UH Mānoa Dental Hygiene Clinic shut in March 2020 thanks to the pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, Head Commence keiki traveled by bus to encounter UH campus daily life first hand, although accessing cost-free oral overall health solutions supplied by DH pupils at the UH Mānoa Dental Hygiene Clinic. Learners taught Head Start off keiki about healthy practices these kinds of as exercising, excellent nourishment and oral health and fitness cleanliness, including brushing and flossing. With the closure of the clinic in March 2020 due to COVID-19, the DH section, led by Method Administrator and Instructor Kristine Osada, required to consider creatively to go on students’ scientific encounters even though providing vital well being schooling to the neighborhood.

“Creating and furnishing digital oral wellness education and learning was a valuable expertise for DH pupils, while also conference the desires of the Head Start out community,” reported Deborah Mattheus, nursing associate professor. “Students observed this alternate scientific expertise making use of a virtual instructional system, to be to begin with difficult, while also gratifying at the time they had been in a position to comprehensive every session effectively.” Mattheus and Osada are co-investigators of a five-12 months Well being Means and Solutions Administration instruction grant aimed to increase student’s expertise and encounters in giving oral treatment to kids ages 0—5 years.

“As dental clinics reopen, dental hygiene plans should really continue to use this artistic approach, which makes it possible for for the provision of schooling regardless of locale in the condition,” included Mattheus.

This method is an case in point of UH Mānoa’s goal of Improving Student Good results (PDF), a single of four aims discovered in the 2015–25 Strategic System (PDF), updated in December 2020.

Rachelle R. Sowell

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