Alliance for Cavity-Free Future reports progress

November 9, 2012

Organizations like the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future are educating dental professionals as well as patients around the world on the importance of good oral health. With a goal to “Stop Caries NOW,” the Alliance is hoping to educate the public and challenge leaders to take action.

Organizations like the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future are educating dental professionals as well as patients around the world on the importance of good oral health. With a goal to “Stop Caries NOW,” the Alliance is hoping to educate the public and challenge leaders to take action.

With published studies indicating tooth decay is the most common chronic disease on the planet, affecting five billion people, or nearly 80 percent of the world’s population, there is a long way to go. But, the group does have good news to report.

At the recent FDI’s World Dental Congress in Hong Kong, world leaders in dentistry, oral health and public health gathered for the 3rd Annual Summit of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (the Alliance) to discuss how to better engage communities to prevent and manage dental caries. The Alliance provided its third annual update on progress. Some of the key achievements include:

•  Launching four local chapters in Latin America and an upcoming launch of a chapter in China

•  Launching in-local-language Web-based content for professionals and families

• Partnering with local Ministries of Health and other local stakeholders

•  Working to standardize the caries curriculum at key academic institutions

• Developing intervention models that can be used to address oral health in early childhood

The Alliance was launched globally in September 2010 with a global declaration signed by members of the World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization, FDI World Dental Federation and the International Association of Dental Research (IADR). Today, the Alliance challenges global leaders and other regional and local stakeholders to take action against caries, and specifically early stages of the disease process that might go on to form cavities, but can be prevented and controlled before developing to that stage.

“With a high prevalence of caries among children and adults in both mainland China and Hong Kong, the work of the Alliance in stopping caries initiation and progression is increasingly important,” said Dr. Nigel Pitts, Chairman of the global Alliance.  “By detecting and treating caries early, we can prevent the formation of cavities and help improve the overall health and quality of life of individuals within these communities.”

In an effort to activate communities, the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future has launched several local Alliance organizations throughout the world, including chapters in Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela, with a chapter in China expected soon. Each chapter is dedicated to achieving the Alliance goals in their own communities; some of the activities completed to date have included launching in-local-language Web-based content for professionals and families, partnering with local Ministries of Health and other local stakeholders, working to standardize the caries curriculum at key academic institutions and developing models that can be used to address oral health in early childhood.

For the first time, this year’s summit also included an “ICDAS” symposium - on understanding dental caries. The symposium focused on understanding the caries disease process and the importance of early lesions, the epidemiology of caries, how to plan for controlling and preventing caries at the community and individual level and how to manage caries.

Another group that studies the caries disease process, the World Congress of Minimally Invasive Dentistry (wcmid.com), has made great strides in the United States and other parts of the world. That organization, much like the Alliance, hopes to educate dental professionals and the public on the importance of preventative measures designed to stop caries before they ever develop, or at the very least identify and fight them at their early stages.