New Alliance Aims to Eradicate Cavities by Next Generation

November 18, 2015
Jared Kaltwasser

The American Public Health Association this month launched the Canada-United States chapter of The Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future. The alliance's goal is that children born in 2026 and beyond will be able to live a life without cavities.

A new coalition believes it can make cavities a thing of the past.

The American Public Health Association this month launched the Canada-United States chapter of The Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future. The alliance’s goal is that children born in 2026 and beyond will be able to live a life without cavities. The alliance is sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive.

“Too often, we accept the occurrence of cavities as the status quo,” said Margherita Fontana, DDS, PhD, co-chair of the chapter and a professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. “We know caries management is achievable by utilizing evidence-based approaches to reverse, stop, and prevent tooth decay, and by establishing interprofessional partnerships that can help reduce disparities in certain populations of children.”

According to the World Health Organization, 60-90% of school children and virtually all adults have tooth decay. The National Children’s Oral Health Foundation finds that Canadian school children miss 2.26 million school days each year due to dental-related illness, and the National Maternal and Child Health Policy Center says children are five times more likely to visit an emergency department with dental problems than with asthma complications. One major reason for those ER visits, the center found, is a lack of dental insurance and routine dental care.

The Alliance will begin its task by attempting to foster increased inter-professional collaboration, and by asking more providers to hammer home the message that regular brushing and fluoride use can reduce tooth decay.

“Collaboration is essential for comprehensive prevention and management of caries in both Canada and the US,” said Alyssa Hayes, BDen, MSc, FRCD, alliance co-chair and assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan. “We need to commit to developing systems at various jurisdictional levels which encourage the policy makers and all health professionals to work together in addressing this disease.”