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Experts at Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF) Symposium Call for Collaboration and “Joining Up Existing Evidence” to Promote Successful Caries Prevention and Management
Inaugural Symposium marks longer-term partnership between the ACFF and UAE International Dental Conference (AEEDC)
Dubai, 18 February 2016 – The Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF) held its first annual symposium at the 20th annual UAE International Dental Conference in Dubai (AEEDC) on 2 February 2016. The day-long session – titled “The Fight for a Cavity-Free Future: ‘Joining Up’ the Evidence to Make an Achievable Difference” engaged key thought leaders in robust discussion to not only understand the existing body of evidence regarding the current approach to caries prevention and control, but to determine how to integrate that evidence and identify a clear path towards a cavity-free future for all. The symposium hosted a group of experts across key disciplines, including, nutrition, education and behavior change, cariology, public health, clinical practice, and caries management.
“The annual AEEDC meeting brings together leading oral health professionals to address pioneering advancements in oral health research and technology,” said Professor Abdullah R. Al Shammery, Rector of the Riyadh Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy in Dubai and Co-Chair of the local North Africa and Middle East ACFF Chapter. “Today’s ACFF Global Symposium is a powerful example of the importance of global collaboration among oral health stakeholders to promote efforts and evidence that address the burden or oral disease on a global scale and, in consequence, drive meaningful change.”
A Need for Collaboration:
Symposium experts agreed that dental caries is a complex, multifactorial disease that cannot be prevented by the traditional focus on single factors in isolation. Very often, oral health efforts have worked in silos to address pressing issues around oral disease burden. The group suggested that organized collaboration and synergy that effectively “joins up” existing evidence between individual elements of the “Caries Puzzle,” can help fulfil the primary goal of the ACFF, a cavity-free future for all.
Symposium experts discussed what specific factors needed to be part of the comprehensive approach and stressed the need for synergy to operationalize the existing evidence:
- Sugar: following the new World Health Organizations (WHO) guidance on reducing the amount of free sugars to prevent caries, obesity and diabetes.
- Education and behavior change: enabling both patients and health professionals to do the right things at the right time to prevent and control caries.
- Cariology: implementing the wealth of evidence about how to control caries, realizing that fluoride is important, but not sufficient, against high sugar challenges.
- Public health: responding to the need for advocacy on caries and oral health issues, often neglected in public health policy and practice.
- Clinical practice and management: recognizing the clinical evidence to support a preventive approach, as well as adopting a System to deliver caries classification and disease management in dental clinical practice, the International Caries Classification and Management System (ICCMS™).
Importantly, experts overwhelmingly agreed that “Joining-up” these pieces of the “Caries Puzzle,” combined with suitable actions from other external stakeholders – including health professions, the public and patients – will allow us to achieve a cavity-free future more rapidly than separate strategies or individual group efforts.
A Focus on Sugar A key strategic element for action discussed at the symposium was how best to react to the recently published evidence-based guidelines on sugar consumption issued by the World Health Organization. Implementing these guidelines should impact the health outcomes of patients in terms of caries, obesity and diabetes. However, the group agreed that there exists a gap in policy efforts globally, and discussed ways to strengthen action at the policy level, with potential activities ranging from implementing a sugar tax to expanding sugar information on nutrition labels, noting that similar policies and programs in the tobacco industry have been effective in educating the public and changing behavior. Updating education on the health impact of sugars was also felt to be a priority.
“The recently published World Health Organization guidelines on sugar consumption, along with the existing evidence on caries management and prevention, suggest the need to update practice and training protocols so they reflect this new evidence-based nutritional guidance” said Professor Paula Moynihan, Newcastle University, United Kingdom, World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Nutrition and Oral Health. “Today’s discussions reemphasize the need for clear and meaningful guidance to the dental professional and patients on how to best address the connection between sugar and oral health.”
Read the complete Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF) Symposium Press Release.
Dental And Public Health Leaders From Canada And The United States Target A Cavity-free Future For Children Born In 2026 And Beyond
Cavities are the number one chronic disease, despite being preventable and, in the early stages, reversible
Chicago, November 3, 2015 – This weekend at the American Public Health Association meeting, leaders in dentistry and public health joined together to launch the Canada-United States Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (the Alliance). The Alliance aims to facilitate collaboration among the various professional groups who impact oral health with a specific focus on children under the age of six.
Read the complete ACFF Canada US Launch Release
Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF) Celebrates Milestone of Establishing 24 Local Chapters Worldwide
BANGKOK, Thailand (September 24, 2015) – The Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF) held its sixth annual summit at the FDI World Dental Congress, delivering a report on the Alliance and presenting on issues impacting oral health, including the recently revised World Health Organization (WHO) sugar intake guidelines and the implications of these around caries prevention and management efforts. The ACFF also celebrated the recipients of the inaugural ACFF Champions Award, which commends the work of ACFF Chapters whose programs help drive impactful change in their local communities and beyond.
Read the complete ACFF 2015 Summit Press Release.
New iCariesCare Digital Applications for Professionals and Patients Aim to Drive Oral Health Behaviour Change Based on International Caries Classification and Management System (ICCMS™)
System based on the International Caries Detection and Assessment System (ICDAS) Approach
Bangkok, Thailand (September 23, 2015) - The ICDAS Foundation and its Global Collaboratory for Caries Management (GCCM) have announced two new applications that will be provided to dental professionals and patients free of charge to help achieve better early caries prevention by using the International Caries Classification and Management System™ (ICCMS™). The applications were introduced at this week’s FDI Annual World Dental Congress, in Bangkok, Thailand and were made possible by an unrestricted educational grant provided by Colgate.
Read the complete ICCMS Press Release.
Russian Alliance Launch
Leading Russian dental experts announced the launch of the Russian chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF) on September 28, 2014.The meeting was hosted by the Russian Dental Association – a member of the World Dental Federation (FDI) – that recognizes the important role of the international health initiative.
The launch of the Russian chapter gathered 27 of the country’s top experts in dentistry from 17 major dental universities and the Russian Dental Hygienists Association. The meeting was led by Professor Nigel Pitts, ACFF Chair, Vladimir Sadovsky, the RDA President Vladimir Sadovsky, and Valery Leontiev, the RDA Vice-President and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Vladimir Sadovsky stressed the urgency of addressing the caries problem in Russia, noting that “without the proper prevention the dental caries incidence in Russia will continue to grow exponentially.”
The Alliance members proclaimed their commitment on working on educational programs and long-term programs of caries prevention to be supported and implemented by the dental schools and the professional associations. Experts also agreed that it is important that the local Alliance activities should not only reach the professional community, but it should also involve children and parents through local education programs.
Attendees signed the ACFF Declaration at the close of the meeting to celebrate joining the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future. Joining the Alliance, Russian dental experts will implement the “new” approach to caries as a continuum, which is preventable and even reversible at the early stage using comprehensive caries prevention and management practices.
South African ACFF Chapter
The South African chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future launched on June 25, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa, with over 60 dental and public health experts in attendance. The meeting was facilitated by Prof Sue Naidoo – Deputy Dean of Research at the University of Western Cape and the panel represented experts from all five dental schools and all three dental organizations in South Africa. In addition, the attendees received a lecture from Professor Nigel Pitts, ACFF Chairman, on global ideas and patterns as well as guide discussions for future plans.
This gathering also allowed the South African experts to join together and discuss the importance of optimally managing the growing caries incidence from a South African perspective with the plan to practically combat this disease.
There was strong support for the ACFF concept and the potential impact it could play in the future of Oral Health in South Africa. All parties committed to the goals of the Alliance and signed the ACFF declaration. The declaration calls for global collaborative action to challenge health care leaders and stakeholders to learn the importance of caries as a disease continuum, by recognizing that cavities are preventable, and to develop comprehensive programs for prevention and management.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease on the planet, affecting five billion people, or nearly 80 percent of the world’s population. This disease often restricts activities in school, at work and at home causing millions of school and work hours to be lost each year. Moreover, the psychosocial impact of these diseases often significantly diminishes the quality of life. It is for these reasons that a group of key experts and opinion leaders have joined hands to tackle this debilitating problem.
Central Eastern European Chapter Launch
Dentistry leaders from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia signed a regional declaration constituting the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future Central Eastern European Chapter in which the experts call for national collaborative action to challenge leaders and stakeholders in the community to learn the importance of caries as a disease continuum, recognize that cavities are preventable and caries is reversible in the early stages, and to develop comprehensive programs for prevention and management in the CEE region.
Prof. Urszula Kaczmarek, who has been appointed the Chair of the CEE ACFF Chapter, said: “Collaboration is essential for comprehensive prevention and management of caries around the world. We must commit to developing systems on a cross country, national and local level that encourage the public health and clinical communities to work together in addressing the disease. Together we can educate the public and challenge leaders in dentistry and public health to take action. Improvement in the condition of oral health calls for strengthening and continuation of more effective preventive strategies as well as increase of social awareness as far as the meaning of oral health. The latter can be done via motivating oral health promoting programs in accordance with the rule “think global – act local” – added professor Kaczmarek.
ACFF Indian Launch
At the 67th Indian Dental Conference, dental and public health experts joined together for the launch of Indian chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future. The local chapter aims to collaborate with stakeholders across various levels, including government and community leaders, to move towards a cavity-free future.
In India, dental caries remains a major oral health problem and is widely prevalent, especially among children. Caries, an early form of cavities, is a prevalent issue in India.
On November 20, 2013, experts in dentistry, oral and public health came together to launch the Australian chapter of the global collaboration the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future. With national representation, the Australian chapter is the ninth chapter to join the global movement towards a cavity-free future.
In Australia, as in many countries around the world, tooth decay is still a neglected epidemic, in spite of progress made in prevention and treatment. Government and personal expenditure to repair the damage caused by this disease is very high as is pain and suffering with dental caries being the most common cause of acute preventable hospital admissions (AIHW, Australian Hospital Statistics 2009-10).
Wendell Evans – Head of Discipline, Community Oral Health Epidemiology, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Sydney – is chairman of the local chapter which includes 15 leaders in dentistry and oral health who are committed to building upon the work already being done in the prevention of caries. Suggested initiatives include engaging general health and community groups, government leaders, dental councils and dental schools in Australia with the aim of improving oral health through engagement, policy changes, and teaching curricula.
ACFF Greek Chapter Launch
The Hellenic Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future launched in December 2013, aiming at taking initiatives and action in order to contribute to the decrease of caries in the country. The Hellenic Chapter of ACFF has partnered with the Greek Dental Association, the Hellenic Society of Pediatric Dentistry and other representatives of the dental community.
In the frame of implementing practices for the improvement of oral health in Greece, ACFF is developing and implementing actions both at the level of proposals for the improvement of the policies on oral care, as well as at the level of the education of population on caries prevention.
Towards this direction, Prof. Konstantinos Oulis, co-chair of the ACFF chapter, announced the development and implementation of an “Experiential Learning” educational program on oral health for kindergarten children. This program will be initiated in September 2014, and it’s the first time that such an action at such a degree is implemented for kindergarten children in the country.
On October 25, 2013, the Malaysian chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future successfully launched. The local ACFF Chairperson, Professor Rahimah Kadir, will lead chapter members in the charge to move towards a cavity-free future. The chapter aims to secure public endorsement while also engaging key public health stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health and the Deans’ Dental Council.
With full support from major outlets such as Dental Practice News (DPN), the Malaysian chapter is off to a strong start. DPN has explicitly expressed that initiatives such as the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future deserve the support of the overall dental healthcare community in the Malaysian region.
The Malaysian chapter proudly presented their chapter goals and reviewed the activities they plan to implement this year. One of the activities the chapter plans to initiate is a public health awareness program to promote the importance of proper oral hygiene and educate consumers on dental caries. Through this initiative, the Malaysian chapter will tap into local TV talk shows, radio shows, newspapers (online and print) to promote the oral health program. They also plan to leverage Oral Health Month and promote activities on oral hygiene during this time.
Turkish Alliance Launch
The Turkish Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future launched at the FDI World Dental Congress in Istanbul on August 26, 2013. Dental experts who attended the launch ceremony included Professor Nigel Pitts, ACFF Chairman, Dr. Oya Aktören and Dr. Esra Yıldız, Co-Chairs of ACFF Turkey Chapter, Dr.Taner Yücel, President of Turkish Dental Association, and Dr. Kanuni Keklik, President of Department of Public Health Services/Ministry of Health. Local Experts Panel members, representatives from the Turkish Dental Association and Departments of Pediatric Dentistry/Restorative Dentistry/Public Health and Colgate-Palmolive Company were also in attendance. Members of the Turkish Chapter signed the Alliance Declaration endorsing the importance of joining the fight against caries.
Following the Turkish Alliance launch in August 2013, educational and awareness-raising activities have launched. For example, the regional ICDAS training that brought together 19 KTLs from different countries in AEA division. The ultimate goal of this training was to engage academia as the ambassadors in their schools for the integration of this new tool into their curricula. Eventually, this will raise awareness among the young dental professionals who will in turn raise the awareness with the public in their practice and through their outreach programs.
Turkey, as many other countries, has significant problems regarding oral and dental health. Statistics reveal that approximately 70% of 6-year-old children throughout the country have dental caries and related problems and approximately 50% of people aged over 65 have lost most of their teeth.
European Alliance Launch
On July 22, 2013, the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future announced the launch of a new European Chapter, to bring together experts in dentistry and public health to create a collaborative focus for the implementation of key changes in dental health practices across Europe. The launch of the European Chapter is the sixth chapter of the global Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future, which began in September 2010.
The European Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future is chaired by Professor Nigel Pitts, Director of the Dental Innovation and Translation Centre (ITC) at King’s College London Dental Institute, London, UK, and Professor Svante Twetman, Professor of Cariology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Professors Pitts and Twetman were joined by Professors Andreas Schulte, Klaus Pieper and Kenneth Eaton at a meeting in London to define the goals of the new European Chapter and sign a statement of intent, pledging their commitment to improving dental health practices across Europe.
In Europe, tooth decay remains a major problem, especially in Eastern Europe and in socio-economically deprived groups. 1 Many Europeans still do not follow recommended oral hygiene practices, such as using fluoride-containing toothpaste, mouthwashes, inter-dental cleaning and getting regular dental check-ups.
Different countries across Europe will be joining the European Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future by implementing local specific initiatives throughout 2013 and 2014.
To see a video of Professor Nigel Pitts and Professor Svante Twetman talking about the European Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future and the dental caries landscape in Europe, please visit www.youtube.com/ACFFEurope
For further information about dental caries, please visit EU_Chapter_Caries_Fact Sheet.pdf.
For more information about the Alliance, please visit www.AllianceForACavityFreeFuture.org
1. Facts and Figures – The State of Oral health in Europe (2012). Available at http://www.oralhealthplatform.eu/sites/default/files/field/document/Factsheet_oral health in Europe_2012_0.pdf [Last accessed June 2013]
Central American ACFF Chapter Launch
In June 2013, the Central American ACFF chapter was launched with the goal to motivate and engage key players in oral health prevention. Through key partnerships with stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health, the local chapter is paving the way to a Cavity-Free Future.
ACFF China Chapter Commits to Stopping Caries Now for a Cavity-Free Future in China
Cavities are preventable and in the early stages reversible.
On September 13, 2012, national leaders in dentistry and public health joined together and launched the China Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future. Professor Deyu Hu and Profesor Junqi Lin are the co-chairman of ACFF China chapter.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease on the planet, According to the Survey of Chinese Oral Epidemiology, 85 percent Chinese adults suffer from cavities while 90 percent of them never turn to a dental management or consultation. Deyu Hu, Professor and Chairman of Preventive Dentistry, West China College of Stomatology, Sichuan University, pointed out that 80-97 percent of Chinese have dental problems of varied degrees. “The level of resources and intervention from both a public health and clinical perspective is inconsistent around the world,” said Professor Xing Wang, Chairman of CSA “This means that millions are suffering from a problem we know how to stop. Caries deserves greater attention in order to elevate it as an important health issue.”
The ACFF China chapter calls for national collaborative action to challenge leaders and other regional and local stakeholders to learn the importance of caries as a disease continuum, by recognizing that cavities are preventable and in the early stages reversible, and to develop comprehensive programs for prevention and management. The goal of china chapter is 0 cavity after 2026 in China.
Venezuela Alliance Launch
On April 11, 2012, members of the local dental community joined together to celebrate the launch of the Venezuelan chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future; the launch took place at the Aesthetic & Restorative Dentistry Congress in Caracas, Venezuela. Given that the majority of the Venezuelan population has dental problems and oral health diseases, including cavities, more collaborative efforts from the dental and public health community are especially important. In fact, statistics from the most recent Venezuelan health census show that 96% of individuals report having cavities. In an effort to tackle this issue head on, Chairman of the newly launched chapter, Dr. Ana Maria Acevedo, proudly kicked-off the inauguration.
With more than 500 attendees present for the launch ceremony, officials from the Board of Health (including BoH Coordinator Dr. Ana K Elorza), Board of Education, National Dentists Association, Venezuelan Dental Schools Association and the Congress Board of Directors were on hand to sign a declaration formalizing the formation of the Venezuelan Alliance Chapter and endorsing the importance of the Alliance in taking action against caries. The launch of the Venezuelan Chapter is the fifth chapter of the global Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future which launched globally in September 2010.
Following the launch, the Venezuelan chapter plans develop a series of tactics to permeate dental school curriculums, including a report on the Caries Curricula to the National Faculties Association.
Brazilian Alliance Launch
At the CIOSP-International Dental Congress Sao Paulo on January 29, 2012 in São Paulo, Brazil, members from the local dental community gathered to launch the Brazilian chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future. The launch of the Brazilian chapter is the third chapter of the global Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future, which began in September 2010 and is dedicated to creating a global movement towards a cavity-free future for all age groups.
With more than 150 attendees present for the launch ceremony, influential leaders of the local dental community – including Dr. Gilberto Pucca Jr., National Dental Health Coordinator for the Brazilian Ministry of Health – and officials from the São Paulo Dental Association and Brazilian Dental Association were on hand to sign a declaration, formalizing the formation of the Brazilian Alliance Chapter and endorsing the importance of the Alliance in taking action against caries.
Led by Head Professor in Pediatric Dentistry at the School of Dentistry at the University of São Paulo, Dr. Marcelo Bönecker, the Brazilian Alliance is looking forward to building on the commitment from leaders of dental organizations, government leaders, dental councils and dental schools in Brazil to change the future of caries and work towards a cavity-free future for all. Specific goals will be set in the coming months.
Mexican Alliance Launch
On September 16, 2011, worldwide leaders in dentistry and public health gathered at the FDI World Dental Congress in Mexico City to kick-off the Mexican chapter of the Alliance. Following the launch of the first Alliance chapter in Colombia in May 2010, the Mexican chapter of the Alliance is joining the global movement towards a cavity-free future in order to build upon the work already being done on the issue of caries by dental and public health professionals in Mexico.
In Mexico alone, tooth decay affects 90 percent of the population, impacting not only the population’s oral health, but also the overall well-being and quality of life of Mexicans, according to the Mexican National Health Program.
Led by Dr. Heriberto Vera, former Chief Dental Officer for Mexico and the Chairman of the Mexican Alliance Chapter, key influencers in oral health and public health from Mexico showed their support for a new approach to caries and signed a declaration committing to the goals of the Alliance. Participants included Dr. Jaime Edelson Tishman, President of the Mexican Dental Association and Dr. Agustín López, Executive Secretary of the Mexican Society of Health.
In addition to launching the Mexican chapter at FDI, the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future unveiled a free website for individuals and families that provides information about caries and resources to help prevent and manage early cavities. On the website, individuals and families, who are committed to stopping early cavities, can learn about caries and download a checklist to help assess their current oral health habits. After completing the items on the checklist, individuals and families receive a Certificate of Completion, demonstrating their commitment to oral health. To access the website, please visit www.AllianceForACavityFreeFuture.org or www.alianzaporunfuturolibredecaries.org for a Spanish version.
Colombia Alliance Launch
On May 15, 2011, Colombia became the first country to launch a local chapter of the Alliance with an event that took place at the Annual Research Meeting of the Colombian Association of Dental Schools (AFCO). Like many other countries across the globe, caries is a significant problem in Colombia, with estimates that six in ten Colombians have suffered tooth decay before turning five years old. In fact, statistics presented at the launch event indicated that 57.2 per cent of children in urban areas and 68 per cent of children in the countryside have suffered from tooth decay.
In order to support action in Colombia, several renowned experts from key academic institutions, as well as the Colombian Association of Dental Schools (AFCO) and a representative from Colgate-Palmolive Colombia signed a declaration indication their support for the goals of the Alliance.
The Colombia chapter has indicated that it will focus on two action fronts -- academic and community. On the academic front, the Colombian Alliance will be leading a workshop with all dental school members of the Colombian Association of Dental School (ACFO) next September in order to review state of Cariology in the different dental school curriculums. Their goal is to develop a proposal that reaches consensus around dental caries teaching, prevention and management. On the community front, the Colombian Alliance has already identified three intervention sites and is currently working on the design and development of a research protocol that will evaluate the integrated actions directed to the community. The aim is to start on field work by the second quarter of next year.
As part of the launch of the Colombian Alliance, a Spanish version of the Alliance site was also launched; the site can be accessed at http://www.alianzaporunfuturolibredecaries.org and offers evidence-based tools and strategies to support materials for local action.