Dental hygiene students take first place for smoking research

A team of Utah Valley University dental hygiene students recently
received first-place honors for their research and presentation on
third-hand smoke at the annual Utah Dental Association convention in
Salt Lake City.

Each year, dental hygiene schools across the state compete for honors
at the conference through their respective table clinic presentations on
various topics in oral health. At this year’s convention, which took
place Feb. 19-20, approximately 40 different presentation groups
competed, representing each of the five hygiene schools in the state.
Practicing dentists, hygienists and assistants viewed the presentations,
which were then judged by a panel of dentists from the Utah Dental

Erin Michaels, Tricia Crandall and Colette Hinchcliff of UVU were
recognized with first-place honors and a cash prize for their research
on the effects of third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke refers to the
residual tobacco smoke contamination that remains after a cigarette is
extinguished. This contamination takes the form of toxins left over
from second-hand smoke and builds up on surfaces such as clothing, hair
and furniture, posing a serious health risk long after the smoke is
visibly gone. The UVU student researchers conveyed how this risk is
highest for infants and children, whose developing brains are
particularly affected by the toxins.

In its efforts to support development in the field and advances in
dental hygiene education, the UVU Department of Dental Hygiene has made
more information on this subject available to the public at The department also houses a dental
hygiene clinic, which is open to the public and provides affordable,
professional dental hygiene care to the local community. Appointments
can be scheduled by calling (801) 863-7608.

“The Utah Valley University Department of Dental Hygiene is committed
to fostering school and community service in our students and
graduates,” said department chair George Veit. “Our students are
always out in the community, and [this recent recognition] is just
another example of how students with faculty mentorship are engaged,
creative and successful in what they accomplish.”

UVU’s Department of Dental Hygiene currently offers two-year
associates degree programs as well as a bachelor degree completion
program, which will be available online beginning fall semester 2009.

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