Graduating dental hygienist teaches children about oral health during COVID-19

Posted at 4:01 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 18:23:24-04

BALTIMORE — Zoom has become the new way to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Eastern Shore mother who's also a dental hygiene student, embraced the technology to teach children about proper oral hygiene while completing public service requirements.

"You should start working with children and dental hygiene from the second they have a tooth in their mouth," said Jennie Hager.

Hager is a senior at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. Since March, she's used Zoom to teach students and parents the importance of proper oral care.

"Teaching hose habits younger and younger, prevents issues down the road," she said. "It helps children establish good habits early on and they will just start doing those cleaning techniques. It's really fun because when you start teaching children they start catching you on things."

Hager's virtual lessons started when she needed a way to make up for public service. Her original goal was to travel to Rwanda but because of COVID-19, travel outside the country was not possible.

"These lessons have been a great way to connect with children," she said. "My own daughters have even helped. Through doing Zoom and being able to have that face-to-face interaction with kids, they were able to ask me questions or show me how they did things."

Since March, Hager has presented to 48 children and 26 parents across the state.

"It all started with a Facebook post," she said. "I'm really grateful I've been able to do this."

Hager is expected to graduated this Friday with a virtual ceremony with the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.