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Conference News July 2013

Conference News, 5-6th July 2013

by Maree Millar

Jennifer & I recently attended the annual  Dental Hygiene conference down in Sunny Nelson.

The “Creating Sunshine Smiles” conference was held over a 2 day period with some really interesting speakers, all mainly local Dentists & Specialists presenting to us.  Approximately 300 Hygienists attending from all around NZ.

One of our main speakers was Dr Helen English who has a well established Periodontal Practice in Nelson (her mother Dr Angela Pack,  was also a practicing Periodontist & a well respected Professor at the Dental School in Dunedin).  Dr English has a special interest in the use of active manuka honey as a sub-gingival delivery device for treatment of Periodontal Disease. She was recently awarded a research grant for more thorough investigating on this topic in conjunction with the University of Otago & the University of Zurich, Switzerland. 

Another speaker, Dr Andrew Marriot is an Orthodontist in Nelson.  He really enjoys treating all the teenagers and relates well to them, he is quite a character! One of the ideas Andrew had that I thought I would use in my hygiene room these school holidays whilst treating lots of kids, is the visual of a 1.5L bottle of Coke, emptied & filled with the 40 teaspoons of sugar. This will demonstrate how much sugar is actually in that bottle of Coke and what is going on their teeth each time they drink it!

Dr Iain Wilson, an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon based in a private practice in Nelson who has worked both in the UK & Australia.  Spoke to us with his vast knowledge on oral cancers, showing us such interesting slides on what we as Hygienists are also responsible for looking for in our patients mouths for early detection of these “nasties”.  Which if spotted early can be treated … life is precious and can be turned upside down upon diagnosis!

Dr Roby Beaglehole is a  practicing Dentist based at Nelson Hospital. He has a special interest in Smoking Cessation & is currently a Tobacco Control Advisor to the NZDA. Did you know there are 650,000 smokers in NZ and 5,000 a year die from tobacco use.  The average age to start smoking in NZ is 11yrs old, how scary is that? Our job as dental hygienists is let our patients understand the risks involved in smoking… and to offer smoking cessation programmes to those patients that would like some help in quitting.

The Facts about Fluoride … Another hot topic that was discussed at the conference by Dr Donna Kennedy, who is a Nelson based Dentist working in a private dental practice and Nelson Hospital.  As Donna brought up tooth decay is still the most common chronic disease in the world and this is where adding Fluoride in the water supply has such a positive effect to combating this problem.  Fluoride lowers the pH of Saliva and inhibits plaque bacteria.  There is no scientific evidence to date supporting Fluoride being harmful in water. There will always be the debate of the public good vs independent freedom.

Overall a great conference to attend, as well and learning new things it is also a fantastic time hang out with your fellow colleagues and bounce ideas off each other to take back to your Practice!

Maree Millar.


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Fraser Smith Lowe Dentists
267 Pakuranga Road
Auckland 0632
New Zealand



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