Being involved in community service is a noteworthy opportunity for dental hygienists. Dental hygienists are preventive professionals and they work to provide care and service efforts to the members of the community. Every year at the Medical Education Campus (MEC), there seems to be more coverage and volunteer hours completed from both entry-level and senior dental hygienists. Increasing numbers of community members have benefitted from preventive dental care and education, hence lessening dental diseases.
In October, in celebration of National Dental Hygiene Month, senior dental hygiene students from the MEC and Germanna Community College participated in community service opportunities as part of the curriculum for dental public health.
The American Dental Hygienist’s Association works closely with Head Start programs to provide oral health education. Head Start is a program that supports comprehensive development of children from birth to 5 years old and offers services in many areas including oral health support. In Fairfax County, NOVA’s MEC students visited nine Head Start classrooms where they presented oral health education demonstrations to young children.
Some of the students also visited MVLE, an organization that supports over 500 individuals with disabilities and military veterans to work toward independence and growth, and a commitment to creating futures one person at a time through employment and day support services. Students presented oral health education demonstrations at both MVLE locations, Springfield and Chantilly.
All participants received a dental goody bag with a toothbrush, floss and mouth rinse. MEC faculty and staff help to find great volunteer opportunities for students to attend and help provided them with the samples and products for their goody bags.
Special thanks to the dental hygiene students for their role and involvement as health professionals at the local, state and national levels. The work of MEC faculty, staff and students put forth to help the greater community is inspiring.