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ACFF Canada-U.S. Chapter Awards Grants to Improve the Oral Health of Young Children

ACFF Canada U.S. Chapter Awards Grants to Improve the Oral Health of Young Children Winning Programs Address Dental Caries Among Underserved Populations TORONTO, November 28, 2017 – The Canada United States Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity Free Future

ACFF Canada-U.S. Chapter Awards Grants to Improve the Oral Health of Young Children

Winning Programs Address Dental Caries Among Underserved Populations

TORONTO, November 28, 2017 – The Canada-United States Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF) today announced the winners of interprofessional grants totaling $50,000.00 (USD) to fund projects designed to address the problem of early childhood caries (tooth decay) in children under age 6 years. 

Made possible through funding from Colgate-Palmolive, this year’s grant awardees have designed programs that will provide training and mentoring to caregivers and improve the oral health of young children from economically and socially disadvantaged communities. 

“As oral care providers and educators, we stress the importance of twice daily brushing and reducing sugar intake to help prevent dental caries,” said Margherita Fontana, DDS, PhD, Professor, University of Michigan School of Dentistry and Co-Chair, Canada-U.S. Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future.”This year’s grant winners have developed programs to bring these important messages directly into the community, reaching people who need it most.” 

Worldwide, 60–90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults have been affected by dental caries.1 In Canada, statistics show that an estimated 2.26 million school days are missed each year due to dental-related illness.2 In the United States, a child is five times more likely to seek ER treatment for dental problems than asthma.3 

“We are excited to see the future results from these programs, as the work is very much in line with the overall mission of the Alliance – to shed light on the reality of dental caries and move toward a cavity-free future for our children,” said Robert Schroth, Associate Professor in the Department of Preventive Dental Science (College of Dentistry) and the Department of Pediatrics & Child Health (Max Rady College of Medicine), University of Manitoba, and Co-Chair, ACFF Canada-U.S. Chapter. 

About the 2017 Winners  

ACFF Community Oral Health Workers (COHW) Project (UCLA Center for Children’s Oral Health, Los Angeles) – The goal of this project is to reduce the burden of dental disease in children ages 0-5 in Los Angeles County (LAC). By the time they reach kindergarten, 56% of LAC children experience caries (50% statewide) and by third grade, more than 70% of LAC children have a history of decay with only 21% (28% statewide) having received preventive sealants.1 Early childhood caries are concentrated disproportionally in children of color in low socioeconomic families. UCLA will partner with the Hope Street Family Center to train and mentor ten (10) caregivers/parents to become Community Oral Health Workers (COHWs) who will then provide local oral health promotion to other caregivers of young children in their community (train-the-trainer model). 

Oral Health of Immigrants’ Children in Context of Acculturation and Social Support (University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada) – The study proposed by this program aims to determine the effects of cultural and social changes faced by immigrants on their children’s caries status and oral health behaviors. Participants will be first-generation parents and their children (aged 2 to 5 years) who have lived in Canada for more than two (2) years. Data will be collected through validated questionnaires and dental examinations in community locations. The results will enhance the knowledge of oral care providers as it relates to the role of acculturation and perceived social support in parents’ behaviors regarding their children’s oral health and help to develop culturally relevant interventions that effectively improve childhood oral health. 

Visit for more information and cavity prevention resources. Specific information about the Canada-US Chapter can be obtained by contacting Co-Chairs Dr. Margherita Fontana (US) and Dr. Robert Schroth (Canada) via email (,



  1. World Health Organization. Oral Health fact sheet. Available at: Accessed November 7, 2017. 
  2. Canada Dental Association. “The State of Oral Health in Canada.” Published March 2017. Available at: Accessed November 7, 2017. 
  3. National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center. Key Oral Health Messages. Available at: Accessed November 7, 2017. 
  4. Dental Health Foundation. The California Smile Survey: An Oral Health Assessment of California’s Kindergarten and 3rd Grade Children. 2006. Available at: Accessed November 27, 2017.


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