Pacific DETOX Shares Health and Wellness Tips for Dental Students in 2015

A few student leaders from the Pacific Dentists Exercising Towards Overall Xcellence (DETOX) Club shared their top tips and personal New Year’s resolutions to stay happy and healthy in 2015. Read on to see how they’re working towards personal health and well-being while in dental school.

Pacific DETOX Leaders

Pacific DETOX hosted dietitian, Alexandra Caspero, for a lunch-and-learn session. From left to right: Trevor Fujinaka ’16, Navid Torabian ’16, Alexandra Caspero, Daniel Hoffman ’16, Courtney Sutherland ’17, Nisa Goshtasbi ’16, Tiffany Nguyen ’17.

Nisa Goshtasbi, DDS 2016, Pacific Detox Co-President
Even though dental school may appear as the busiest, most chaotic time in our lives, I know that as we graduate and settle into our careers, our responsibilities will only grow. That’s why I force myself to adopt a balance in my life, educationally, socially, and physically. For me, I work hard during the school week to be efficient and effective in my learning. Once Friday evening comes around, I give myself a break. No studying for me on a Friday night — that is my time to unwind. Saturday and Sunday mornings, I eat a light breakfast like a banana and head to the gym. Since these are the only days we are off, I find it essential to fit in gym time on the weekends. Saturday, I work out the stresses of the previous week, and Sunday, I set myself up for success for the upcoming week. The hardest thing about working out is getting started, but push yourself to get there, and you will thank yourself later. So my message to you, is to find YOUR balance, figure out what works best for YOU, and set reasonable expectations to achieve your goals. I know that the last place I want to be after a 10-hour school day is the gym. That’s why on school nights, I opt for 10-15 minutes of either pilates or yoga in my apartment. By setting realistic goals, and always having the big picture in mind, I am confident that we can all find our personal balance and create a positive environment to thrive in.

Trevor Fujinaka, DDS 2016, Pacific Detox Chair of Activities
My New Year’s resolution is to find time to be active everyday, whether it be at the gym for a workout, walk around the neighborhood, or stretching. Although it seems like there isn’t time to take a break from the grind of dental school, it is important to take the time to get out and get moving and not put it off until “tomorrow.” A little bit of exercise is enough to clear the mind and be in touch with your body, which occasionally gets sacrificed both mentally and physically. So, this year I am going to set a time each day dedicated to being active. No matter how important a test is the next day, it’s more important to take care of yourself first.

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Pacific DETOX holds yoga classes for the school community on Mondays evenings.

Daniel Hoffman, DDS 2016, Pacific Detox Treasurer
Every year during the first few days or week of the new year, people bombard each other with a question regarding their New Year’s resolution. Most of the time these resolutions are fulfilled relentlessly for the first couple of weeks or optimistically for a couple months. Then, when life becomes busy, free time disappears and stresses of life take over, our resolutions drift out of our head without us even noticing. This happens to me too. Instead of trying to instill a New Year’s resolution, I try embody habits that will last me a lifetime. I recently read a book called “The Compound Effect,” in short it explains that everything we do in life is a choice, and no matter how small they seem, after a decade or two they compound to have profound effects – effects you couldn’t imagine if you looked at the simple choices individually. This year my goal is to be mindful throughout each day in the choices I make and interactions I encounter. When we slow down and contribute even an extra 5 seconds of thought to a decision, our logic can be utilized and impulses retracted. I want to apply this specifically to diet and time management. When I see a bag of chips out of the corner of my eye and start to salivate, am I actually hungry? Do I need these chips? Or are my senses promoting a craving that will dissipate with the next sensory impulse I receive? This crosses all borders of life, like watching TV or going on Facebook because it is a habit, not something I actually desire or care about. I believe that by making mindfulness a priority in my life as a “New Year’s resolution,” I can make my life healthier physically, mentally and emotionally.

Courtney Sutherland, DDS 2017, Pacific Detox Fundraising Chair
My number one tip for staying healthy: SLEEP! I know, I know, old news. But now that I’m forcing myself to sleep at least 7 hours at night, I feel so much more alert during the day, and positive about life in general. My boyfriend recommended that I listen to a podcast on the importance of sleep, and halfway through, I swear, I took a nap … not because it was boring! Seriously, guys, sleep is so awesome for you. Try it. Another “must” in my life is yoga. I start every day with at least half an hour. It allows me to begin my morning with clarity and intention. I truly believe that everyone who tries yoga will discover just how wonderful it is. And lastly—green smoothies! There’s no better way to nourish your body than with some amazingly delicious nutrients in the form of fruit and veggies. When given the option of a salad or a green smoothie, I will always rock a smoothie.

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Pacific Dugoni Cares

Pacific Dugoni students, faculty and alumni joined more than 1,700 volunteers to provide $1.66 million in charitable dental services during CDA Cares at Pomona on November 21-22, 2014. The CDA Foundation and CDA host the event to provide dental services and oral health education at no charge to Californians who experience barriers to care. Dentists and dental professionals provided fillings, extractions, cleanings, oral health education, and full and partial dentures to 1,861 people during the two-day event.

Pacific Dugoni students at CDA Cares Pomona.

Pacific Dugoni students at CDA Cares Pomona.

A few current Pacific Dugoni students shared reflections on their experiences volunteering at CDA Cares Pomona.

“We delivered a stay plate on #8 on one patient. She just had the extraction done and was not given pain medications. When we were trying on her stay plate, I could tell that she was in pain because she was trying to hold back the tears. Every time we asked how she was doing, she’d still say that she was fine. That was only one of the few patients I saw that day. Some of the patients drove from two hours away just to get care. Experiences like that remind me why I came to dental school. Nothing compares to the smile you see on people’s faces when they look at their new smile in the mirror. Dentistry, for me, is not just about having the best looking cavity preparation or getting A’s in all my classes. It is about providing service to those who are not fortunate enough to have the means to take care of themselves. One can do dentistry to make other people feel confident about themselves. I do dentistry because it makes me feel good, and it warms my heart when I see a patient smile again.”
- Jacqui Uy, DDS 2016

“Dentists working at CDA events are so open to teaching and patients coming in generously provide the opportunity to learn. I love how dynamic this event is because I can move between departments and assist any number of dentists. What strikes me is that most patients have a full-time job and are contributing members of society who just don’t have the means to take care of some basic dental needs. Patients are so grateful to be able to receive this great service, but they’ll never know how much I honestly cherish my experiences and encounters at CDA Cares.”
- Michelle Nguyen, DDS 2016

“It was my first time volunteering for CDA Cares, and now I know why thousands of volunteers wake up at 5 in the morning and spend their entire day helping out. I worked at the denture station for the majority of the time, and it brought me so much joy see to the look on the patients’ faces when they glanced in the mirror and saw their new smiles for the first time. I spoke with patients who told me that they started lining up for this event at 3 in the morning. This shows me that there is a community who wants to improve their oral health, but truly lack the means to do so. All of the appreciative patients and generous volunteers have rejuvenated my passion for the career that we chose.”
- Sheynie Vo, DDS 2016

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“I spent most of my time at CDA Cares Pomona working either in the triage area or guiding patients to the different stops for care. The very first group I took in the early morning said they had been in line since before 4:00 a.m. and were excited to get things started. I was so distracted talking with that first group about the event that I missed taking them to their first stop, routing, and had to backtrack to get them there. To me having that happen wasn’t so bad, as talking with the people was what I love about CDA Cares. The people come from everywhere and every situation and at this event we do all we can to help them. In my time at this event I must have met and seen hundreds of people all in need of some form of help and this is an opportunity to provide some relief. To do that alongside so many other awesome volunteers makes it easy to say that I made the right decision to get involved.”
- Steve Truman, DDS 2016

“The best part about CDA Cares, for me, is always the patients. One patient needed to have 10 of her teeth extracted and was very nervous during the procedure. Half-way through I saw a tear fall down her cheek and asked her if she was feeling pain and she said she was crying cause she felt so embarrassed about the state of her mouth. I held her hand and told her that we were there to help bring back her smile. Taking a break from academics was just what I needed to refocus my energy. I had been to a few CDA Cares events before, but Pomona meant more to me because it was so close to home. Volunteering there, you could clearly see the need.”
- Rosemary Tran, DDS 2016

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