ECU’s role in solving North Carolina’s oral health problems

 School of Dental Medicine  Comments Off on ECU’s role in solving North Carolina’s oral health problems
Jan 142013

It’s no news to us: North Carolina children need better dental care.

This week, the News & Observer and Charlotte Observer reported new findings that shed light on the deteriorating state of oral health in North Carolina – particularly as they impact our youth. According to a Pew Charitable Trusts’ Dental Campaign study, North Carolina ranks in the bottom five states in the country for school-based dental sealant programs, which have been shown to guard against tooth decay among at-risk youth.

Particularly in low-income areas, sealants are a cost-effective option for preventing tooth decay and cavities. But the growing demand for procedures like sealants – a cost-efficient, one-time measure to protect cavity-prone teeth from harmful bacteria and food particles – points to a much larger problem: A one-time fix is no replacement for regular dental care, especially as it relates to overall oral health. These days, North Carolinians are struggling to get either.

North Carolina’s health stands at a critical moment. Poor dental care leads to poor overall health, and with new studies like this surfacing each year, the problem is worsening. That’s why we need more dentists to serve underserved NC patients – from childhood to retirement. And that’s exactly what the ECU School of Dental Medicine has based its curriculum around.

The need for increased access to dental care is particularly great in rural, underserved areas across the state. From the mountains to the coast, the number of dentists in North Carolina is not keeping pace with the state’s population boom. In fact, North Carolina ranks 47 out of 50 states in dentist-to-population ratio.

The ECU School of Dental Medicine is facing this problem head-on by training students who are committed to working and living in underserved areas across the state after graduating. Over the course of their four-year education at ECU, students will provide care to in-need patients across the state as part of their training. The school has already opened one of ten planned Community Service Learning Centers designed to train and prepare students in the types of underserved communities they’ll live and work in.

The best part? Every student trained means several patients treated. A win-win for North Carolina’s oral health. Our goal is to improve access to care, one patient at a time, in the communities that need us most. One day, that’ll mean less sealants – and more healthy smiles for all.

Read more about ECU’s service-based curriculum and the Community Service Learning Centers here.


So, you want to be a nurse?

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on So, you want to be a nurse?
Jan 112013

Are you looking for a nursing program that is affordable and convenient?

We are accepting applications for the ENC RIBN project (Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses). RIBN is a partnership between East Carolina University, Beaufort County Community College, Lenoir Community College, Pitt Community College and Roanoke-Chowan Community College where students are enrolled at both a community college and ECU.

Here is a snapshot of the project:

RIBN Features for the Community Colleges:

  • Completion of general education course requirements and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Nursing (AAS) at a designated local community college.
  • Community college counselors and advisors available for assistance.

RIBN Features for East Carolina University:

  • Completion of BSN degree within 4 years.
  • Student success advocate available for assistance.
  • Less expensive than attending the on-campus program at ECU.

You can visit the RIBN website at or contact Kelly Cleaton ( ) for complete information. Applications for the group that begins in August are due Jan. 31.

Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, CNE
Dean and Professor
East Carolina University College of Nursing

Resolve to think “oral health” in 2013 and beyond

 School of Dental Medicine  Comments Off on Resolve to think “oral health” in 2013 and beyond
Jan 102013

Your New Year’s resolutions may include lifestyle changes like weight control, exercise, and stress relief, but have you thought about resolving to improve your oral health?

Below are some resolutions to consider regarding oral health—not only for 2013 but for a lifetime. Over the next couple of months, we’ll discuss what the American Dental Association has to say about ways to improve your overall oral health. Consider these lifelong resolutions:

  1. Read about oral health and know the facts (not fiction)
  2. Brush and floss regularly
  3. Visit a dentist regularly
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Eat sweets in moderation

Regarding No.1, the American Dental Association has a “Mouth Healthy” website to answer questions on oral health throughout the life span, including pregnancy, babies and kids, preteens and teens, adults under 40, adults 40-60, and adults over 60. Check out the website here.

An example of what “Mouth Healthy” offers is a quiz on oral health care. Do you know if these statements are true or false? 

  • Aspirin placed next to a tooth is a good way to relieve a toothache.
  • A little bleeding of the gums after brushing or flossing is normal.
  • Sensitivity in teeth means you have decay.
  • Sugarless chewing gum can help keep teeth healthy.

Get the answers here.


Jan 082013

Five Ways to Blow Your New Year’s Resolution

Often, we associate New Year’s resolutions with drastic health or lifestyle changes that we feel determined to stick to in January – but weeks or months later, we burn out. Why? Because we try to bite off more than we can chew.

Today’s post is the last in our series about common mistakes that can lead to resolution burnout and tips that encourage long-term success.

It’s all been building to this. The capstone resolution: stress reduction.

In our world, stress has absolutely become the rule. And after reading about exercising, eating right, getting more sleep and finding a new hobby, you’re probably already thinking “Who in the world has time for all of that?”

For overall health and well-being, it’s vital to make time.

The key to reducing your stress level is prioritizing and cutting unnecessary anxieties and obligations. In reality, all of the resolutions we have discussed this week contribute to stress reduction in some form.

It’s lifestyle changes like exercise, better sleeping habits or a new hobby that will actually lead to a few less of those 4 a.m. ‘what did I forget to do today?!?’ panics.

So, as with all of our resolutions, successful stress reduction actually requires a plan you can manage, not just intense workout and eating regimens, or a general declaration that you’ll turn off your cell phone at 8 p.m., light a few aromatherapy candles and do yoga while listening to a soothing ‘Sounds of the Ocean’ CD.

In addition to resolutions, remember that it’s OK to say no.

In 2013, let’s all remember to give some time back to ourselves. Use it for exercise, reading, walking the dog or generally catching your breath. This decompression time can be incredibly restorative. It’s for your health.

The next time you get an e-mail asking you to organize a school bake sale or host a neighborhood party, breathe deeply and give legitimate consideration to the effect this will have on your stress level for the next few weeks. If you’re up for it then do it, but if you feel like this will take away from your productivity at work, your time with your family, your sleep or anything else, then realize that it’s OK to say ‘no thank you.’






Jan 072013

Five Ways to Blow Your New Year’s Resolution

Often, we associate New Year’s resolutions with drastic health or lifestyle changes that we feel determined to stick to in January – but weeks or months later, we burn out. Why? Because we try to bite off more than we can chew.

This week, we continue sharing common mistakes that lead to resolution burnout, and provide you with realistic tips that encourage long-term success.

“Five… four… three… two… hey, wake up! It’s midnight!”

At the turn of the New Year, millions watched the ball drop. You struggled to keep your eyelids open.

It wasn’t just that it was midnight. You battle exhaustion every day, regardless of what time it is – from the moment you rise until it’s time for bed. This year, you decide enough is enough. You resolve to start sleeping better in 2013.

Night One

You hit the sack early at 9 p.m. Two hours later, you’re still wide awake, and running out of things to read on your iPad. You eventually fall asleep around midnight – your usual time – and rise again at your usual 6 a.m. waking hour.

Night Two

After work, you head to the pharmacy for some reinforcements. With “all natural” sleep aids in tow, you prepare for a great night’s sleep and swallow your melatonin shortly after dinner, around 8:45. By 9:30, you’re feeling the effects. After completing your nightly tasks in a Zombie-like state, you collapse face first into bed. The next morning, you’re groggier than usual, with a sleep-aid hangover that lasts until noon. Trying to get more sleep is really wearing you out. Better sleep will remain a dream for now. There goes your New Year’s resolution.

How to: Teach your body to sleep smarter

Tune out the noise

Reading, without the television blaring or other distractions, is a good way to naturally relax your mind and body at the end of the day. However, studies show that reading on a mobile device can slow the onset of sleep by over stimulating your brain. Alternatively, turning the pages of a hard-copy book can help you calmly wind down your day and encourage sleepiness. So reach for your hard-copy novel, and shut off your television, smartphone or iPad.

Sleep when you need it – and get the most out of your routine

Getting better sleep doesn’t have to mean going to bed at 9:00. Take another look at your schedule: Where are you being least efficient with your time? Exercising in the morning is shown to increase productivity in the mornings and lead to a better night’s sleep. It’s a natural way to get your body into a better sleeping rhythm – which means more energy, and no sleep-aid hangovers in the morning.

Follow these tips and you’ll have sweet dreams in 2013.