Student Spotlight: Emphasizing Connection Between Oral Health and Diet


Sydney Pannella

Sydney Pannella, who studied to become a dietician, has a special insight into the link between nutrition and oral health.

“People don’t always realize how it affects the oral cavity,’’ she says. “There are so many things you can fix just by changing your diet.’’

Although she planned on becoming a dietician, Pannella has been interested in dentistry since childhood. “I always had positive experiences at the dentist and orthodontist,” she remembers.

To prepare for her new career path, Pannella, who attended Rutgers as an undergrad, enrolled in the Rutgers Graduate Studies Biomedical Sciences program so she could gain the medical and scientific knowledge she needed for dental school.

Pannella, a third-year student, chose RSDM because of its demanding clinical program and close-knit environment. “It’s a nice community,’’ says Pannella, who grew up in Nutley. “I like how small the class is.’’

Her first few months in the clinic have been rewarding, she says.

“It’s nice seeing emergency patients and helping them get out of pain. And it’s nice changing people’s smiles and making them healthier,’’ she says. “I’m getting a lot of excitement out of that.’’