Shina Patel

Mentor: Dr. Susan Horky

College of Medicine

"I decided to get involved with research to help educate society of the potential advantages of routine dental check ups. I am striving to educate patients of the necessity of oral hygiene and propose the addition of a simple question such as “how many times do you visit the dentist?” on the new patient intake forms in the pediatric pulmonary clinic at UF to help specialists gain more insight on the child’s health related to his/her oral hygiene."

Major

Psychology/Pre-Dental

Minor

N/A

Research Interests

  • Poor Oral Care and Respiratory Health and Nutrition
  • Dental Caries, Enamel Defects, Tooth Discoloration in Children with Cystic Fibrosis
  • Possible Pseudomonas Contamination in Dental Equipment

Academic Awards

  • Heart of Florida Educational Foundation (2015 - Present)
  • Florida Academic Scholarship (2016)
  • UF College of Dentistry Impressions Program (2017)
  • University Scholars Program (2017-2018)

Organizations

  • UF Pre-Dental American Student Dental Association (ASDA)
  • Bochasan Akshar Purshottam Sanstha (BAPS)

Volunteer

  • UF Shand's Hospital-Dental Clinics
  • Undergraduate Teaching Assistant - CHM1025

Hobbies and Interests

  • Visiting Local Restaurants
  • Exercising
  • Traveling

Research Description

Investigating the Relationship Between Poor Oral Care and Respiratory Health and Nutrition in Children with Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a chronic, progressive illness that affects primarily the respiratory and digestive systems. Thick mucus provides a host for bacterial infections in the lungs, leading to inflammation and scarring, and blocks the pancreatic duct, interfering with absorption of nutrients. Good nutrition is a critical component in delaying the progression of lung disease: children with Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) at or above the 50th percentile have higher lung function. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between poor oral care and respiratory health and nutrition in children with CF. Previous research has demonstrated a relationship between effective oral care and health conditions such as pneumonia; however, minimal research has been done exploring the relationship of oral care and CF. This study will explore two questions: (1) Does poor dental care correlate with poorer lung function, pulmonary bacteria or BMI? (2) Do breathing problems due to CF cause children to fear having work done on their mouths?. Data will be collected through self-reported surveys of dental care including the frequency of visits/treatments and a review of nutrition/respiratory health from patients’ medical records. I hypothesize that there is a relationship between poor oral healthcare and CF: (1) A contributing factor to poor oral health may be that children with CF related breathing problems avoid dental visits due to fear of being unable to breather whilst the dentist’s hands are in their mouth; (2) Poor dental care leading to caries for example may be associated with the presence of increased bacteria causing increased pulmonary infections and poor lung function leading to poor nutritional intake due to difficulty eating. This study has the potential of drawing light to the relationship between dental care and CF, and if there is appositive relationship then health care professionals will be able to better support and advise CF patients on the necessity for early, regular dental care.