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How I got my spit together: Writing my first book

Feb. 23, 2022
Colette Murray, RDH, filled what she saw as a big void in the oral-systemic arena by writing a book for both dental professionals and patients titled "Get Your Spit Together."

In the spring of 2020, I, like most other dental professionals, was sidelined from providing care until the dental community got a handle on how to practice more safely. During the time it took to watch, wait, and prepare for a safe return, I decided to work on my continuing education, which led me to a deep dive into oral-systemic health topics.

I joined the American Academy of Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH) at the recommendation of a colleague. After a few webinars, I couldn’t get enough. Webinar after webinar I realized the basics I’d learned in dental hygiene school and CE courses were just the tip of the iceberg. This led to conversations with friends and family about some of the discussions they were having with their dental professionals.

During this time of binge watching oral-systemic webinars from AAOSH, I expanded my network online. I joined a number of dental hygienist groups and forums. I realized as I read some of the discussions that more could be done to raise awareness among patients and dental providers about positively influencing oral health.

Sure, there is a lot of good information online. Dental professionals produce excellent blogs and articles, and their fellow professionals know exactly where to look for up-to-date, evidence-based information. But do nondental people know how to sift through the many online sources to find solid information? This got me thinking about creating a more comprehensive resource for patients, one that a dental professional could have easy access to and pass along to patients facing oral health challenges.

How I got started

I realized my limitations. I knew that a book would never come to fruition if I had to write the entire thing myself. As a busy mom of two and a self-employed mobile hygienist, my days are full! A friend in the physical therapy profession recently launched a collaborative book that she was promoting in social networks. Each collaborator has a special interest and knowledge about the content. So, I thought, that’s what I’d do!

As soon as I figured out the subject and a cheeky title to get attention, I checked my social and professional networks to find RDHs who are putting themselves out there as possible collaborators. I watched for those providing good online content and other published works, with particular focus on the book’s topics. I also stumbled upon the National Network of Healthcare Hygienists. This organization aligns with what I had in mind for the book and has impressive founding individuals and supporters. I love everything they’re trying to achieve for the community and the dental hygiene profession.

As I reached out to those colleagues who impressed me, I received excellent feedback on the book subject. They could see the value for patients and dental professionals. I was on to something! After careful deliberation, three writers from the US and four from Canada were selected. We created a plan, and over the course of a year, the chapters were submitted, and a manuscript was completed and edited, ready for publication! It’s now available on Amazon. It’s been an exciting time to collaborate with such a brilliant group of colleagues who truly care about their patients and promotion of oral health for all! 

The book’s synopsis

Get Your Spit Together! Your saliva may hold the secret to better dental checkups, provides practical information about improving the quality and quantity of one’s saliva to benefit oral health and to positively influence overall health. It addresses the concerns of individuals experiencing or concerned about periodontal or dental caries disease. It is intended to provide those in general dental practice with a unique and practical resource and helpful tool to pass along or recommend to patients who are struggling. Several dental professionals contributed chapters with content that supports oral systemic health. Each of the seven chapters relate to each other and tie the topics together for reading and learning enjoyment. Dental patients and dental professionals alike will find value in the book’s content.

I hope you get a chance to read it!

About the Author

Colette Murray, RDH

Colette Murray, RDH, is the book project manager for Get Your Spit Together! Your saliva may hold the secret to better dental checkups.