Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future Awards International Grant
According to their website, the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF) “is a worldwide group of experts who are working to stop the initiation and progression of an early form of cavities (known as caries). Their goal is to establish a Cavity-Free Future for individuals of all ages.”

Recently, the ACFF’s Canada-United States Chapter awarded an international grant totaling $48,000 USD to a project led by the University of Toronto Dentistry Department’s Carlos Quiñonez. The ACFF’s “inaugural grant program aims to bring together groups outside of dentistry, such as pediatrics and primary care, to help underserved communities.”

By targeting multiple facets of health care provision, Quiñonez hopes fluoride varnish can be applied to children’s teeth earlier, and more regularly, with the aim of eliminating early childhood caries in the province.

His project is being labeled “An Ontario Primary Health Care System to Support a Cavity-Free Future,” and the goal is to “build readiness across dentistry, medicine, public health and government to make fluoride varnish (FV) application routine primary care practice in Ontario.”

Quiñonez, who is the Director of the Specialty Training Program in Dental Public Health at the UofT Faculty, developed the project in conjunction with Dr. Andrea Feller, the Associate Medical Office of Health for the Niagara region.

“We know fluoride varnish works,” says Quiñonez. “Providing it in primary care settings prevents disease, can increase a family’s uptake of preventive and curative dental services, and can reduce the consumption of costly services in the future, partly by getting a family to think about oral health from very early on.”

The introduction of this varnish application project is a big stop for Ontario, but it’s not the first initiative of its kind. Quiñonez is quick to point out that, in the U.S., there are fluoride varnish application is an increasingly routine practice amongst primary care physicians, nurses, and other health care workers in both public and private settings.

Despite the successes taking place south of the border, Quiñonez is aware that elevating the level of prevention and awareness policy in Canada comes with unique challenges. “This will require a shift in what primary health care practice is, and might require new health funding triggers,” Quiñonez says. “But you know, the path has been established in the US and we can learn a lot from this.”

A major task of the project will be to communicate the importance of fluoride varnish application to policy makers and practice leaders, and to encourage them to get on board with an nationwide plan to introduce widespread early application of fluoride varnish.

Quiñonez’s project is one of just three to receive grant funding from the Alliance across the U.S. and Canada, and he is quick to thank all those that have collaborated to push the project forward, as well as the Alliance and its parent funder, Colgate-Palmolive.

Still, “it took the US 15-20 years to make this happen,” Quiñonez warns. “But it’s a reality in almost all American states now.”

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Posted by: DSR
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Tag: Dental
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