New York (October 12, 2017) – Today is the second annual World Cavity-Free Future Day (WCFFD), and Colgate-Palmolive is working to help spread awareness and engage communities around the world in the global fight against dental caries (the disease which leads to cavities). Worldwide, between 60–90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults have dental caries1. In the U.S., statistics show that 14% of young children have dental decay2, and there is generally low awareness that the early stages of cavities in children and adults can be prevented and controlled.
Colgate-Palmolive and other organizations involved in the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF) believe that significantly decreasing the burden of cavities in communities can help secure a cavity-free future for the generations to come. WCFFD seeks to engage communities around the world by educating them on the reality of dental caries and encourage increased caries prevention resources for those with limited access to dental care as well as those who have access to care but find it is still largely surgically focused.
Tooth decay has been a growing concern for many years, particularly with the increase in global sugar consumption. Partners and experts who have joined WCFFD believe that a good starting place for cavity reduction is focusing on the importance of brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes and reducing sugar intake.
“With the high prevalence of dental decay in the U.S. and around the globe, World Cavity-Free Future Day reminds us that bringing together the experiences of dental and other health professionals as well as patients is the key to the building a successful model for caries prevention,” said Nigel Pitts, Global Chair, Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future. “United, we must promote models for prevention to equip dental and related health workforces to deliver preventive caries care and, in turn, invest in longer-term actions that shift both public and industry behaviors.”
While the need for caries prevention includes people of all ages, young children are of particular concern for Dr. Francisco Ramos-Gomez, director of the UCLA Center for Children’s Oral Health, who has provided free dental exams to children in underserved areas of Los Angeles as a long-time volunteer in the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® Program. “With the proven prevention practices that are available today, the failure to avoid tooth decay in young children, age five and younger, is an area where we must make greater progress,” said Dr. Ramos-Gomez. “Studies show that a quarter of young children living in poverty have already experienced some level of tooth decay3. We must do more to protect the oral health of these particularly vulnerable children.”
Marsha Butler, DMD, Vice President, Global Oral Health and Professional Relations at Colgate-Palmolive, echoed Dr. Gomez’s concern and stressed the need for children to have their first oral health exam at age one. “By starting at age one, the child’s parents and dentist can work together to prevent the development of cavities,” said Butler, “and the research shows that this early prevention approach actually results in in less dental treatments over time4 and a lower total cost5 as the child grows.”
Dr. Butler also noted that oral health education is the key to success in creating a cavity-free future, pointing to the work undertaken by the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program in the U.S. and around the world educating over 900 million children and their families on the importance of good oral hygiene and carries prevention.
For those interested in finding resources on cavity prevention, more information can be found here: www.AllianceforaCavityFreeFuture.org and www.colgatebsbf.com. Parents, educators and dental professionals can visit the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® website at www.ColgateBSBF.com to access free learning materials, mobile apps, videos and more.
- World Health Organization. Oral Health fact sheet. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs318/en/ – Accessed August 30, 2017.
- U.S. CDC/NCHS, Data Brief No. 104, August 2012 Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db104.htm
- Arthur J. Nowak et al., “Do Early Dental Visits Reduce Treatment and Treatment Costs for Children?,” Pediatric Dentistry, November/December 2014, volume 36/issue 7. Available at: http://www.aapd.org/assets/1/7/2016_Legislative_Fact_Sheet_4-PD_Article_Early_Visits.pdf
- Matthew F. Savage et al., “Early Preventive Dental Visits: Effects on Subsequent Utilization and Costs,” Pediatrics, October 2004, volume 114/issue 4. Available here: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/114/4/e418