More than 100 local nursing home residents will have a great reason to smile today when they take advantage of the on-campus services of the University of Newcastle's Colgate Oral Health clinic at the Central Coast campus.
As part of Colgate Oral Health Month, the residents from Uniting Care Ageing will be provided free oral health education and clinical advice from around 50 students studying a Bachelor of Oral Health.
Associate Professor Deborah Cockrell from the University's School of Health Sciences said the initiative had a number of benefits.
"Clinical work is an important way for the students studying a Bachelor of Oral Health to put what they learn in the classroom into practice using real clients with a range of oral health needs," she said.
"Clients contribute to the training of students at the same time receiving professional advice and treatment under the supervision of fully trained dental hygienists."
Today's activities form the basis of a pilot program to be launched next year where students will have formal clinical placements in nursing homes, providing preventative oral hygiene care for residents.
"Demand for dental hygienists is strong. In fact all students who recently graduated from our program all secured employment in either private practice or public dental clinics across the Central Coast and throughout NSW," Associate Professor Cockrell said.
Students studying a Bachelor of Oral Health undertake three years of training through a combination of theory and clinical care experience in professional practices.
On completion of the degree, students are qualified dental hygienists and can choose to work in a broad range of areas including as clinicians or oral health educators.
The clinic is also regularly open to the public and treatment costs are minimal. Appointments can be made by phoning (02) 4348 4164.
Photo opportunity: Students and residents will be available for vision/photographs between 11am and 11.30am today in the Colgate Oral Health clinic at the University of Newcastle Central Coast campus.