2026: Welcome to the Cavity-Free Future

 

Children born after 2026 won’t ever experience cavities in their teeth if the “Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future” (ACCF) has its way.

“Too often, we accept the occurrence of cavities and even missing teeth as the status quo,” said Margherita Fontana, DDS, PhD, co-chair of the newly founded Canadian-United States chapter of the ACCF.

Health professionals already know that there are effective ways to prevent and reverse tooth decay such as regular proactive dental care (checkups and cleanings). Another important step towards eliminating tooth decay would come from encouraging all healthcare providers to take a more holistic approach to treatment. The ACCF believes that collaborative action is required to raise awareness of dental caries and positively influence dental health habits. Dental care has been segregated from mainstream healthcare for too long. It would be useful if, for example, pediatricians talked to parents about the critical importance of dental care.

According to the ACCF, 60% to 90% of school children worldwide and nearly 100% of adults have tooth decay. In Canada, children miss about 2.26 million days of school each year due to dental-related illnesses. In the United States, children are 5 times more likely to seek emergency room treatment for dental problems than for asthma, often because they can’t see a dentist, are uninsured, or can’t afford routine dental care.

The ACCF describes dental cavities as a “secret epidemic” noting that “this widespread chronic disease and its consequences is a major public health burden to all countries, continues to cause human suffering with loss of quality of life and consumes significant resources for treatment.”

Dental cavities, the organization points out, is a progressive disease that – unless addressed- proceeds from small surface lesions to full-blown decay and gum disease.

“Global collaborative action is needed to challenge global leaders and other stakeholders—including country and community leaders, health and dental health professionals, public policy and education communities, and the public—to learn the importance of caries as a disease continuum and to participate in action toward the delivery of comprehensive caries prevention and management that can positively influence the continuing problem of caries,” the ACCF says, in a statement.

Visit the ACCF’s website for helpful information on how to prevent cavities now, including a checklist that parents can use to gauge their family’s oral health. The checklist also includes detailed tips on how to keep kids’ gums and teeth healthy and strong, including how to brush and floss properly and what foods help and harm dental health.

The ACCF has a global presence, with its newest chapter being the Canadian-American branch. It is associated with The World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA),

The WFPHA has stated that in most countries oral/dental health is recognized as being an important issue, but it is not defined a national priority as it is not considered life-threatening.

“Yet, in many countries, dental caries and poor oral hygiene are important health issues, the incidence of oral cancers and periodontal diseases is increasing and there are serious inequalities of access to dental services,” said WFPHA President Jim Chauvin, in a statement. “Oral/dental health tends to be approached as an acute care service with little attention paid or resources dedicated to the prevention of caries and the promotion of good oral health.”

The WFPHA has called for ”urgent investment in studies of the burden of disease and health care costs associated with oral diseases, greater public and professional awareness about the link between oral health and chronic diseases, including public health courses within the training of dental professionals, and increased investment in preventing oral disease at the community level.”

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