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prevention International magazine for oral health No. 1, 2018

| special: dental hygiene in UK “We’re all about prevention” By DTI Getting one’s patients to engage in preventative oral health behaviours can be difficult at times. Helping them to understand the importance of such care for long- term health is key to achieving this. With this in mind, prevention magazine spoke with Clare Ison, a nurse and oral health educator at Beaufort Dental Health Centre in Burton-on-Trent in the UK, about what her roles entail and how she motivates and educates her patients to take ownership of their oral health. Mrs Ison, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? Clare Ison: I initially started my career in dentistry in 1988 before becoming a qualified dental nurse in 1994— back then, one didn’t have to become a qualified nurse immediately, unlike now. At a point, I had a bit of a career break, but I’ve come back to work in practice manage- ment. Though I also used my break to gain qualifications in business management, I gained my post qualification as an oral health educator as well. What does being an oral health educator involve? How do you become one? It just means educating one’s patients about preven- tion—preventing any dental disease, whether it is peri- odontal disease or dental caries. Oral cancer is also on the increase, so discussing that topic is important as well. Dentists or hygienists refer patients to our clinic, and once the patients are with us, we look at what the aims of the appointment are. Though this differs for patients, we always want them to go away from our clinic with the motivation to take charge of their own oral health. With respect to becoming an oral health educator, we put our nurses through a nine-month-long online course that is run by the British Dental Association. Though the online aspect of it makes it somewhat easier to complete, the content is quite in depth: there are case studies one has go through, the way one conducts lessons is ana- lysed, and there’s an exam at the end of it. It’s a great programme that gives nurses a chance to get additional skills and new responsibilities, and more nurses should be encouraged by their practices to do this sort of stuff. What do you specifically aim to educate your pa- tients about? We really want to emphasise the importance of keep- ing one’s mouth healthy. One doesn’t want them to see the hygienist and think that that’s enough and not take any action until they come back for another check-up six 48 prevention 1 2018 m o c . k c o t s r e t t u h S / f f o k r e e b ©

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