As­pir­ing den­tists cut their teeth pro­mot­ing good oral health

THE (Times Higher Education) - - KING'S COLLEGE LONDON -

Smile, a den­tistry project that King’s stu­dents have run for six years, aims to in­crease the aware­ness of good oral health in the lo­cal community.

“We ed­u­cate chil­dren about den­tal de­cay, sug­ars, what a visit to the den­tist en­tails and the pos­i­tive im­pact of hav­ing good oral health,” says Tri­pat Ma­ha­jan, co-pres­i­dent of the univer­sity’s Smile So­ci­ety. “It’s a good way to see first hand how health­care is de­liv­ered into the community and it’s good prac­tice for health­care pro­fes­sion­als to see how the things we learn about in an aca­demic set­ting are im­ple­mented.

“We com­mu­ni­cate with chil­dren, their par­ents and teach­ers,” she says. “We serve an in­ner-city area and some­times we come across chil­dren who have never vis­ited a den­tist. Last year, we set up an event with a Down’s syn­drome char­ity to pro­vide care for chil­dren whose con­di­tions af­fect their den­tal health in dif­fer­ent ways. It was a unique learn­ing op­por­tu­nity for us and also ap­pre­ci­ated by the chil­dren’s par­ents.

“Another as­pect of vol­un­teer­ing with Smile is the op­por­tu­nity to meet stu­dents from dif­fer­ent year groups and to swap notes about aca­demic and prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence,” she says. “I’ve met peo­ple whose paths would never nor­mally cross be­cause I am in hos­pi­tal while they are in lec­ture the­atres.”

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