The DHAA Symposium 2017 kicked-off today, welcoming over 500 dental hygienists, oral health therapists and other dental professionals to the beautiful city of Adelaide!
Two interactive workshops were held early in the day. The first of which allowed delegates to build their skills in recognising airway issues and weight management. U.S. speaker Shirley Gutkowski took delegates on a historical journey to explore why facial structures are changing and prompted delegates to consider that “the new normal has no link to real evolution”. Her view is that our modern diet is affecting the development of our mandible and maxilla, and as dental professionals we have an important role to play in helping patients establish healthy environments and diets.
In the second workshop, Stavroula Zandes reminded delegates that the words we use with our patients are very powerful. Delegates were encouraged to focus on behaviour change by using tools such as the ‘importance and confidence rulers’ to assess a patient’s readiness for change.
While the workshop delegates were learning, the exhibition was bumping in. Exhibitors were busy setting up their stands, and filling delegate bags, in readiness to share all their latest products and technologies with the crowds later in the day. The DHAA team has a lot of ‘fun’ trying to put up our new banner!
Some delegates took time to tour the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). The building is a fine example of modern architecture that has been nicknamed the ‘cheese grater’, despite being designed around a pine cone. The centre has seven levels of research which cover the whole body, along with aboriginal health and healthy women, children and babies. A full run-down of SAHMRI will appear in the next DHAA Bulletin.
In the afternoon the Symposium was officially opened by the Symposium Chair, Alison Taylor. International speaker Shirley Gutkowski shared her mission for preventing oral disease, particularly how we need to stop restoring teeth and look to restoring the health of the mouth. She described the act of drilling and filling as ‘amputating’ teeth, and encouraged us to change our thinking to ensure we always put prevention first. One Sydney-based delegate commented: “She gave me a lot to think about – I really want to read the books about baby-led weaning that Shirley recommended so I can help my patients!”
Next up, Stavroula Zandes put the focus on smoking cessation, given that tobacco is still the leading cause of premature death. She reminded us that it only takes is a 3-5 minute conversation to help a patient make a positive lifestyle change.
Day one concluded with DHAA President Kathryn Novak reporting on the year’s activities at the AGM, before we all enjoyed catching up with friends old and new at the Welcome Drinks, leaving us eagerly looking forward to day two.