1. A Visit to Ci’en Dental Clinic & the Interview with Dr. Chen
In order to eliminate the damage to human teeth caused by dental plaques, SMS_Shenzhen develops the project “The Teeth Guardian” to deal with dental plaque after the selection brainstorm. “The Teeth Guardian” will be contained in the form of yoghurt, helping people take in energy as well as protecting our teeth from the damage of plaque.
During the summer vacation, our HP group came to visit Ci’en Dental clinic, which is a professional dental medical institution jointly invested by a team of professional dentists. Ci'en Dental has professional talents in planting, orthodontics, restoration, periodontal, etc. The service team is professional and meticulous, and has received professional honors in various fields.
Dr. Chen Jiangshan studied at the School of Stomatology, Xi'an Jiaotong University and obtained a master's degree in orthodontics. He is currently the director of the Cinn Dental Orthodontics Center. World Orthodontic Association of Orthodontic Specialist (WFO), Chinese Society of Stomatology orthodontic specialist (COS), Invisible Global Certified Physician, Insignia Global Certified Physician, Incognito lingual correction global certified physician, eBrace lingual correction global certification Physician. Then we discussed with Dr. Chen about our project And he also gave us an introduction to the current teeth health situation of Chinese citizens.
Through this visit, our HP team have learned a lot about teeth health, such as some interesting tips for dental health:
1) Tooth loss is not due to age, but because of bad habits;
2) Bad teeth are bad for the stomach;
3) The color of healthy gums is actually pink;
4) Normal teeth are pale yellow because the outer enamel is transparent and the inner layer is creamy yellow.
At last, Dr.Chen also points out that Chinese people now are paying much less attention to their dental health conditions than people from western developed countries do. People only go to dental clinic for severe diseases instead of for professional treatments that protects our teeth like toothwash and pit and fissure sealing. As one of the most important part of our bodies, our teeth deserve the public’s awareness of their significance in our daily life. Noticed this current problem existing in the Chinese society, we decided to use our efforts to make a change. Beyond simply constructing a genetically engineered product, our HP group focuses on the publicity of some basic but often ignored dental health knowledge, taking the chance of iGEM competition to benefit our community and even the society by letting more people know how to correctly care with their teeth.
2. WeChat Official Account
Since we registered a WeChat official account to publicize our project as well as synthetic biology to a variety of people, we have already written several articles including information about our projects activities, our team, and the iGEM competition. These articles significantly popularized our project, helping thousands of readers gain knowledge about synthetic biology and the project itself. Many people clicked the “like” bottom and made meaningful comments which led to our further review and improvement.
We introduced our project in a humorous way by which readers with little background information can understand the principles of our project. Since our project aims to solve problem that is closely related to people’s life, the articles really gain support and suggestions from people with different specialties.
On the account, we published a brief introduction to our team and every individuals. aiming to convey the idea that iGEM is a competition requires rigorous team work and harmonious cooperation and that our innovative project aims to use synthetic bio-technology to solve real problems and make the world a better place.
Presentations of our human practice are also an important part of our account. We use the account to introduce, popularize, and summarize our activities, sharing our meaningful experience to the society.
After the visit to the dental clinic, informed by Doctor Chen who said that the average awareness towards the importance of dental health among Chinese people is far lower than that of western developed country. Accordingly, more Chinese people are suffer their dental problems caused by their improper habits of treating their teeth. Therefore, we found it’s extremely necessary for us to take our social responsibility to call for a higher attention to dental health by publicizing more useful dental tips on our WeChat account.
3. The Synthetic Biology Forum in Shenzhen Middle School
During the process of our project’s productization, we found that we should better investigate the need of our market, especially teenagers. Therefore, in order to both collect opinions from teenagers and publicize our project, we held a forum on iGEM projects and introduction to synthetic biology in our school which attracted as many as hundreds of students to take part in. We also invited the iGEM team from Shenzhen College Of International Education to share their project and thus let the students in Shenzhen Middle School have a better and more comprehensive understanding on iGEM and synthetic biology. We learn a lot about the current situation about how teenagers treat their teeth now, and slightly adjust our design of the product to cater their needs. Also, after the forum, many students came for us showing their willingness to join in iGEM competition in the future.
4. The Community Activities Publicizing Dental Health Knowledge
The first stage of our process was to learn. Based on the experiment, survey, interview and activity we have conduct we knew that most Chinese people are poor in dental knowledge. Then, we spread the information we have learned to the public. We taught dental tips in primary schools and neighborhoods. We held games in order to let kids learn while playing. We found out that many people still don’t know how to correctly take care of their dental health. During our community activities, we successfully taught over 30 kids to correctly brush their teeth. We taught over 10 adults to use dental floss.
5.Making Videos Introducing Our Project and Dental Health Knowledge
To make our project and the useful information about dental health that we like to share to be easily understood by the public, we made several introduction videos for the public. Since it’s important for teenagers to have good habits to protect their teeth and videos are more attractive to them, we decided focus on using videos to teach teenagers how to properly treat their teeth.
The reflection from the audience was great. People who have seen our videos, especially teenagers, showed interest and approval in our project after watching the video. More importantly, most of them believed that they learned many useful daily tips to protect their teeth after watching and we hope that our publicity can benefit more people and their dental health beyond the genetic engineering project itself.
Since we are unable to hold material outside of 2018.igem.org, we put some screenshot from our video below.
6. A Survey of Public Opinion Towards Our Project
There is a survey conducted by our National Health and Family Planning Commission: the average number of decayed teeth was 0.86 in 12 -year - old children in China. The survey also found that the detection rate of odontolith in the mouth of 35 to 44 years old residents was 96.7 percent, higher in males than females. The detection rate of gingival bleeding was 87.4%, higher in males than females, up by 10.1 percentage points compared with ten years ago. (Source: https://www.cn-healthcare.com/article/20170919/content-495783.html)
ii. Result of Our Survey:
During our community services and lectures, we collected 200 questionnaires to find out the dental commonsense public. Most of the answerers are from 10-20 years old. We found that more than 80% of them were not satisfied with their dental health, and more than 85%of them have dental issue.
One of the reasons of having such big problem on their dental health condition is lacking of knowledge on how to keep their teeth clean. For example, the dentists suggest that we have to brush our teeth at least three times to prevent the formation of dental calculus, however, most of the interviewees brush their teeth less than three times a day.
Another reason of the issue is people seldom go to the dentists’ for checking their teeth. 31% of the people don’t go to the dentist. For other 46% of the people, Dentist-check is not on their schedules—they go to the dentists’ randomly. Even when they are feeling unwell about their teeth, 30% of the people choose to ignore it or go for unscientific prescribes.
Therefore, the lack of awareness of the public is essential to the dental problem. It is necessary to improve their awareness of dental health, develop good habits, have regular dental examinations, and clean their teeth timely.
iii. The Improvement of our Project after the Survey
The survey helped us confirm about the current situation of the 10-20 teens. We confirmed that there was and there would be a need to promote the commonsense of Chinese dental health. After recognizing the need, we added the promotion of commonsense into part of our public engagement plan.
7. Establishing the Biology Club in Shenzhen Middle School (SMS)
Being one of the most successful high schools on iGEM competition, we have always been trying to add more element of synthetic biology in our school. From managing to set a synthetic biology lab at school to giving lecture to all the freshmen about iGEM annually, we have increased the influence of both synthetic biology and iGEM in our school continuously. This year, we make a significant progress: SMS biology club is established by our team to hold an information and education session about iGEM and synthetic biology for all the students in SMS. IGEM in our school is transformed from a mere competition team to a public club that can be approached by all the biology lovers. We organize various activities such as giving lectures frequently, holding the iGEM forum, organizing synthetic biology lab tour, and provoking individual projects.
On October the 16, the first synthetic biology lab tour this semester was held. We introduced all the equipment to the members of SMS biology club, teaching them some easy operations like pipetting, and showing them some of the experiments of our project this year.
8.Showing up in the Annual New Year Fete of Shenzhen Middle School
In the annual New Year Fete of Shenzhen Middle School, our iGEM team set up a booth selling interesting objects related to biology and science. For example, we sold plants that are grown in beakers, demonstrating the aim of our team that “genetic engineering is a perfect harmony between science and nature.” At the same time, we also publicized our project and the information about iGEM and synthetic biology to visitors from middle school students to retired seniors.