Sydney, Australia - October 14th marks the third annual World Cavity-Free Future Day (WCFFD), an initiative launched by the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF) to progress toward a cavity-free future around the world.
The initiative highlights how simple changes in behaviour, such as choosing water over other beverages, can positively impact oral health and help prevent cavities. Australian dental professionals supporting the campaign, the Australian Dental Association (ADA), Dental Hygienists Association of Australia (DHAA), Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists’ Association (ADOHTA), the Alliance for A Cavity Free Future and Colgate, are challenging Australians to solely drink water on the day, in turn spreading awareness of dental disease and how to prevent it.
The initiative comes at a time when Australia’s dental health is in dire straits. The 2018 results from Australia’s Oral Health Tracker reveal that over 90% of Australian adults have experienced dental caries at some point in their lives. Statistics from the same report shows that more than one-third of Australia’s five to six-year-old children have had decay in their baby teeth.
Dentist and Scientific Affairs Manager at Colgate, Dr Susan Cartwright, says that by instilling some simple behavioural habits, we can decrease the high rate of dental disease in Australians:
“Cavities are largely preventable. By following these four simple steps, everyone can work towards a cavity-free future. Brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste; reduce the amount of sugar you consume, and the frequency at which you consume it; make sure you attend regular check-ups with your dentist; choose water over sugary beverages”
Lindy Sank, Accredited practising dietitian at Sydney Dental Hospital & University of Sydney agrees that healthy habits should start at a young age as children often continue their early dietary habits into adulthood, and adults can be good role models by drinking water.
“Drinking too many soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juices can lead to consumption of excess calories and added sugars. One bottle of soft drink (600ml) can contain 15 teaspoons of sugar. That’s more than twice the daily intake of free sugar that’s recommended for adults and children by the World Health Organisation for greatest health benefits (6 teaspoons)1. If we replace sugary drinks with water, we’re hydrating, decreasing the chance of becoming obese or developing diabetes and preventing tooth decay”.
Dr. Hugo Sachs, President at the Australian Dental Association also says that healthy habits should start at a young age as children often continue their early dietary habits into adulthood. Adults can encourage children by being role models and drinking water first.
The assembly of local and global organisations who support this initiative continues to grow, as dental health professionals and groups unite to share clear advice on the most effective ways to beat cavities and improve overall oral health.
To raise awareness, ACFF Chapters in Australia, North Africa and Middle East, United States and Turkey will be running programs to spread awareness of WCFFDay on Sunday, 14 October 2018.
“Creating a cavity-free future will require a widespread shift in behaviour that is only possible through cooperation and action in our communities,” said Dr Rachel Martin, Specialist in Public Health Dentistry and representative of the Alliance for a Cavity Free Future.
“Now, more than ever, dental prevention and care available for families is of utmost importance as we renew our commitment to fighting cavities. The high prevalence of dental decay in Australia can be reduced by working together for a cavity-free future.”
Australians can join the choose water challenge by drinking only water on World Cavity Free Future Day, 14th of October 2018, and share the experience on social media by posting and tagging #WCFFDay.
References: Australia’s Oral Health Tracker: https://www.ada.org.au/Dental- Professionals/Australia-s-Oral-Health-Tracker/Australia-s-Oral-Health-Tracker-Technical- Appendix/ADA_AHPC_Technical-Appendix_07032018