Spotlight on the International Symposium on Dental Hygiene

Delegates at this month’s International Symposium on Dental Hygiene were encouraged to rethink the systemic link between periodontal diseases and other chronic inflammatory conditions.

The 18th symposium – staged in Glasgow at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre and organised by the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) – brought together dental hygienists, therapists and perio experts from around the globe to discuss and consider major oral hygiene issues.

And Friday’s keynote speaker, Christof Dörfer, certainly turned up the heat on the hot topic of oral health and overall health.

The symposium was aptly titled New Concepts for the New Millennium, touching upon, as it did, a modern-day approach to the thinking on periodontitis, which came courtesy of Professor Dörfer.

The ‘new concepts’ theme accessed all areas of the three-day symposium (1-3 July), evident in numerous addresses within – and outside – the scientific programme.

They included a discussion on global challenges and changes in infectious diseases, a look at changing oral health behaviour, perspectives on the evolving roles of the dental hygienist and therapist, and a light-hearted but important motivational seminar on the business acumen and attitude needed in adding value to the dental practice.

The event began with welcome addresses by Marina Harris, president of the BSDHT, and Marjolijn Hovius, president of the International Federation of Dental Hygienists.

Opening the keynote speeches, Glasgow dental school’s own Professor Jeremy Bagg [of clinical microbiology] investigated modern trends around the globe regarding the challenges and changes in infectious diseases, with reference to the delivery of dental care.

Swedish perio specialist, Dr Ann-Marie Roos-Jansaker, discussed the perio-implantitis patient and the important role played by the dental hygienist in caring for such a patient.

Friday’s keynote speaker, the aforementioned Professor Christof Dörfer, began with an enlightening look at oral health and systemic links.

His address set out to question the relative importance of periodontal therapy as a form of prevention of cardiovascular disease, making reference along the way to diabetes and pregnancy, too.

Drawing on a comprehensive catalogue of studies and data on periodontitis and systemic health, the director of the clinic for conservative dentistry and periodontology at Germany’s University of Kiel challenged current thinking, cautioning that we ‘have to be very careful when talking about systemic disease and periodontitis’.

He suggested instead that there were ‘indirect hints for a casual role of periodontitis’. Clinical evidence to suggest otherwise, he said, is still very low.

Later, at the invitation of the British Dental Trade Association, US motivational speaker Warren Greshes talked up the role of the dental hygienist in Adding value to the dental practice, observing  ‘No one ever wakes up in the morning and says: “Hey, today’s a good day, today I get someone to pick out my plaque”.’

Mhari Coxon’s imaginatively titled workshop, The tissue is the issue – motivating your patients to be gum smart, addressed the problems surrounding patient advice, looking at how the whole team can get involved in discussing gingival health with every patient, every time.

Other ‘concepts’ within the Glasgow ‘armadillo’ included an innovative 3D look at dental biofilms, courtesy of Professor John Thomas (in conjunction with Johnson & Johnson) who used 3D animated, microscopic images to demonstrate the potential dangers of an unbalanced dental biofilm.

There was also a 21-century look at the role of the dental hygienist by international speaker and hygienist, Tracey Lennemann, who suggested advanced therapies and innovative technology in a move to ‘spice up your career’.

The strong trade exhibition offered delegates time out from the scientific programme with an array of stands featuring offers on all the essentials in practice.

Friday evening saw the the staging of the symposium gala dinner and Sunstar’s second world dental hygienists’ awards ceremony, staged at the city’s Thistle Hotel.



Marjolijn Hovius, Jill Rethman, Mayumi Kaneda and Sherry Priebe

Award-winners were chosen from papers submitted to the International Journal of Dental Hygiene. They were:
• In the research category, Sherry  Priebe, DipDH, BDSc (DH), RDH, MSc from the University of British Columbia in Canada for her paper, Oral squamous cell carcinoma and cultural risk habits in patients at the oncology hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
• In the project category, Annamaria Genovesi, RDH, DHA, and Olivia Marchisio, RDH, DHA, from the Istituto Stomatologico Tirreno, from Versilia General Hospital in Italy for their paper, Operative protocols in preventive dental care in a department of neurorehabilitation for acquired cerebral lesions and case report
• Finally, in the student category, the winner was Maria Fjellström, from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, for Cognitive behavioural therapy as a method to improve adherence to oral hygiene instructions.

The three-day event ended with an address by outgoing IFDH president, Marjolijn Hovius, and new president, Maria Perno Goldie’s, inaugural address.

BSDHT president, Marina Harris, closed the 18th International Symposium on Dental Hygiene.

The next symposium is in South Africa in 2013.

For a full report and pictures, see the July issue of Preventive Dentistry.

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Call the Preventive Dentistry team on 01923 851771 or email [email protected]

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