Nutrition and Oral Health

hqdefaultAs dental hygienists we know that sugar, sweets, and carbonated beverages increase the risk of caries whereas fruits and vegetables stimulate saliva production to wash away food and neutralize acids in the mouth. Additionally, we know that water is a better alternative to soda pop. Soda pop, diet or regular, includes tooth damaging acids and, in the case of the latter, also contains large quantities of sugar which can promote tooth decay.

The general public understands that foods high in sugar and fat, excess salt and carbonated, sugary, beverages do not promote optimal health and wellness. On the flip side, most people understand that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, low fat dairy products and meat alternatives (like beans, lentils and other legumes) contributes to overall health wellness and lowers the risk of many diseases.

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“Out of the box”


It’s that time of the year again!  UBC’s Faculty of Dentistry Dental Hygiene Degree Program fourth year student teams recently presented their advocacy proposals. Led by Diana Lin, a Clinical Associate Professor with the UBC Faculty of Dentistry and class Instructor, the students were challenged to think about a cause advocacy issue and how, as health care professionals, dental hygienists could advocate for their clients, and influence broader systems change through concrete and identifiable action.

Without further ado, let’s take some time to learn more about the seven presentations given this year.

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Social Media and the Dental Hygienist

Most of us have social media accounts or, if we don’t, we certainly know people who do. By social media accounts, we’re talking about a broad range of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google Plus etc.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, but you get the idea- social media means many different things and encompasses a variety of platforms with varying purposes and varying reach.

Organizations use social media all the time, @BCDHA is a handle many of you are undoubtedly familiar with!  When an organization tweets the focus is often much broader than an individual because relevant research, policy areas, topics of interest, news etc. are the focus.  The opinion and/or position of the organization is clear, as opposed to the perspectives of the individual. According to the Institutes of Health, 31% of organizations put such a premium on social media use they have developed specific guidelines for its use.  Guidelines of course ensure that everyone within the organization is on the ‘same page’ and that staff are aware of limitations to their actions online.

For healthcare providers, social media presents a host of challenges. It can blur professional and personal lives, it can be a bastion of misinformation and rumours, privacy of patient information can be breached, and we’ve all seen the stories of healthcare providers tarnishing the image of their profession by making dubious choices online. For example, a couple of years ago several nurses (not in Canada) took it upon themselves to photograph themselves with a nude, unconscious patient. These nurses were, quite rightly, subsequently fired.

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Honouring those who have made outstanding contributions

awardsAs your professional association, BCDHA advocates on behalf of the profession and is dedicated to the principle that all British Columbians should have access to the quality preventative oral health services dental hygienists provide. BCDHA collaborates with government, the provincial dental hygiene regulatory body and clients to effectively serve members and the public. Members receive a variety of benefits and have access to professional development, education and other resources as well.

In addition to this work, BCDHA takes great pride in being able to recognize outstanding members of the profession.

Please take a few minutes to review our Awards and nominate colleagues and collaborators for:

  • Lifetime Membership- applications due by September 8th.
  • Honourary Membership- applications due by September 8th.
  • Barbara J. Heisterman Award for Outstanding Innovation and Commitment to Care- applications due by December 31, 2016

Learn more by going to,

UBC’s Faculty of Dentistry Dental Hygiene Degree Program fourth year students advocacy projects




Every year BCDHA waits in anticipation to receive an invitation to attend the presentation of advocacy projects by UBC’s Faculty of Dentistry Dental Hygiene Degree Program fourth year students.  We were pleased that once again Diana Lin, a Clinical Assistant Professor with the UBC Faculty of Dentistry and class Instructor, extended an invitation to come and hear the fantastic work these students have done.

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“I’m a Dental Hygienist…ASK Me What I Do!”

20150312_105645_resizedRecently BCDHA launched a button campaign called “I’m a Dental Hygienist…ASK Me What I Do!”. The primary goal of the campaign is to help inform the public about the key role dental hygienists play in health maintenance and promotion.  BCDHA has compiled some member stories about how dental hygienists have been able to educate clients and colleagues about the profession.

Be sure to sound off in the comments! Have you fielded a question about the profession that you want to share?   Let us know!

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Thank you are the only words- By Alison Sawyer


Good oral care has always been part of my life. My Mom and Dad ensured we went to the dental office twice a year and, for the most part, nothing was really scary or bad about it.  As an adult, paying for my own care, I’ve done pretty well.  Fairly regular and no problems.  Generally my teeth have been pretty good. One cavity in my whole life and only one weirdness in that I don’t have adult teeth under two of my molars (41 and I still have two baby teeth!).   When I became a Mom for the first time 12 years ago, the kids took priority.  Hubby and I have always worked on our own so dental plans have come and gone depending on how the money was coming in.  And, the kids are the priority. Period.

A few months ago I started to have some pain in my upper jaw.  I had a bad cold and attributed it to a sinus infection. I also have a wisdom tooth that while mostly in, sometimes flares up.  When the sinus infection went away and the pain lingered I figured it was this annoying wisdom tooth that I was going to have to get rid of.

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Dental Hygienists Make a Difference

autismIn the spring of 2015, BCDHA ran a contest called “Dental Hygienists Make a Difference”. Members of the public were invited to submit stories of the excellent work done by dental hygienists every day, all over B.C.  Louise Witt submitted the winning nomination based on the excellent work done by Kayla Ragosin-Miller, RDH.

Congratulations to both of you on your prize winning entry!

“Advocating for positive change for children with autism”

Louise Witt knows what it means to advocate.  As a social worker she has spent much of her career advocating for her clients and when she became a Mom to son Jack who has autism, she learned that he too would need an advocate. As Louise describes it, interactions with people can be difficult for Jack and unfortunately often negative. In terms of Jack’s dental care in particular, it was always a struggle to treat him. “Our experiences with dental care have been horrible.  Restraints have been used and he has had to undergo general anesthetic. It was awful and I have spent years trying to figure out how to make this change.”

Through friends and other parents of children with autism, Louise learned about the “Desensitization Program” at BC Children’s Hospital started and run by Registered Dental Hygienist Kayla Ragosin-Miller.  The need for this type of program is high and, as a result, Jack spent quite a bit of time on the waiting list.  A few months ago, Jack finally got his appointment with Kayla.

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Gift from the heart…..


On February 7, 2015 dental hygienists all over Canada will open their doors to anyone who has challenges accessing dental hygiene services at no cost.  This is the third year clinics in B.C. have participated in the annual Gift from the Heart program.

Clinics in Castlegar, Comox, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Richmond, Salmon Arm, Vancouver and Victoria will be participating in this program. A full list of participating locations can be found here.

Read the BCDHA Media Release.

Local media from the Comox Valley about participating Floss Dental Hygiene Clinic.

Stay tuned to our blog for stories from the day!


“The importance of advocacy”

advocateBeing an advocate means that you hope to influence public-policy within existing social, economic and political frameworks and institutions.  Individuals can advocate, and so can groups.

Your professional association, the BC Dental Hygienist Association (BCDHA) and its national partner, the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA), is the body through which advocacy happens for the profession. The BCHDA operates under a simple guiding principle, that all British Columbians should have access to the quality preventative oral health care services that dental hygienists provide.  BCDHA collaborates with government, the regulatory body and clients in order to serve its members. Members get many benefits but of critical importance is a single body through which advocacy and promotion of the profession can occur.

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