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Oral Health: The window to your body's health

Oral Health affects everyone everyday—and normally most people don't think about it. Good oral health allows you to speak, smile, kiss, smell, taste and chew with self-assurance.

The University of Otago's Bachelor of Oral Health (BOH) is an exciting three-year degree programme at the Faculty of Dentistry—New Zealand's only dental school—delivering excellent and innovative education in oral health.

Who is an Oral Health professional?

An oral health professional forms an important part of the oral health team. Oral health professionals have skills in dental hygiene, dental therapy, and oral health promotion.

Dental hygienists educate patients about the health of their mouths and provide options for improving and maintaining oral health. Dental hygienists work closely with dentists in detecting and treating oral disease and in preparing mouths for complex restorative care.

A dental therapist is a highly-skilled professional member of the oral health team who provides quality dental care to various sections of the community, particularly preschoolers, children, and adolescents. Early detection of dental disease and preventive treatment is a key aspect of the work of a dental therapist.

An oral health professional can be registered to practise as a dental hygienist or as a dental therapist or both. Both disciplines are skilled at promoting healthy lifestyles and have a strong awareness of the socio-cultural influences on health.

Why study Oral Health?

Good oral health is the key to living life comfortably and therefore impacts on people's daily lives.

As an oral health professional you become part of the dental team, developing the skills to provide dental and periodontal care and to foster lifelong positive oral health attitudes and behaviour in patients. You will also obtain skills in health promotion.

The qualification that you will graduate with will provide you with a variety of work opportunities.

Oral health teaches you:

  • How the oral tissues interact with their environment
  • Clinical skills (firstly on models and 'phantom heads', and then treating patients under supervision)
  • About pathology, pharmacology, and medicine relevant to oral health
  • About sociology, community oral health, and health promotion

More information about Oral Health