The first step of my project was very successful! As I began to develop the project, I decided to incorporate shadowing a Dental Hygienist. My experience and knowledge with health care so far has lead to me to an interest in oral health. I chose to shadow a Dental Hygienist at a local dental office and I was able to learn a lot. I will be shadowing again soon because it was such a great experience. I was able to observe about 10 different patients being treated in the time that was there. There were a few emergency appointments made that day so it was great that I was able to see how they addressed those situations. There were three different dental hygienists that I observed and I was also able to talk with the dentist herself quite a bit.
I was able to gain the most insight from one hygienist in particular. I discovered after talking with her for a while that we were from the same small town. After learning that, I found out that she attended the university that I plan on attending after graduation. Lastly, I learned that her husband is in the Army Reserves, which is a huge part of my near future. It was amazing to share so many connections and she was able to give me an amazing review of her career so far. She emphasized to me the importance of oral health and that physicians are finally starting to acknowledge its important connection with overall health.
For this reason, I would like to educate the children at the Pemi Youth center about the link between nutrition, oral health, and overall health. I think that sometimes oral health is overlooked when in reality it is extremely important. I think the project will be a fun mix of new knowledge and cooking experience for the children. It will be exciting to incorporate what I’ve learned, my new experiences shadowing, and my previous experience with education to create an impactful afternoon for all of us.