World Cavity-Free Future Day 2021: Putting oral health back on the agenda

14 October 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great deal of disruption worldwide, with oral health among the many things that have been adversely affected.

In a bid to counter this, World Cavity-Free Future Day (WCFFDay), which will be held this year on 14 October, is aiming to “support care teams around the world run local campaigns that re-engage their patients and the public with their oral health”.

Launched in 2016 by the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future, WCFFDay is dedicated to addressing “the need for greater global awareness of dental caries, the disease which, when left unaddressed, can lead to dental cavities” with a focus “on the wider issues that stem from poor dental health and raises global awareness about best practices for the prevention and management of caries and cavities.”

In a world where more than 600 million children worldwide are affected by Early Childhood Caries and 44% of people suffer from tooth decay, WCFFDay wants to break down barriers in local communities, encourage the public back to their oral health teams and give them the resources they need to practise effective oral hygiene at home.

It remains a pressing issue in Australia where a late 2020 ADA consumer survey of 25,000 Australians found that while the number of people looking after their teeth was on the increase, some concerning issues remain as the cover story in August 2021 issue of the News Bulletin made plain.

“12% of survey respondents who only brush their teeth once day do so because they believed brushing more often was bad for their teeth; 29% of those who brushed less than twice a day gave their reason for this as experiencing pain and discomfort from brushing. A worrying 39% of respondents’ children drank soft drink 2-5 times every week, and 40% report they normally visit for a check-up between six months and two years. We see there is still plenty of work to do.”

To counter these trenchant oral health issues, the ADA is working on a number of key initiatives apart from its annual Dental Health Week event (held this year 2-8 August) including the launch of the public-centric Watch Your Mouth podcast, promotion of school lessons that it has developed in tandem with Cool Australia and SugarByHalf and a re-design and launch of its consumer-facing website, teeth.org.au

WCFFDay is a perfect opportunity in Australia, especially in the light of the heightened awareness and focus on
oral health issues following Dental Health Week and with the pandemic continuing to wreak havoc on the people’s normal oral healthcare habits, to highlight what can be done to help people look after their oral health and to connect them to their local dentist. (People are being encouraged to use the ADA’s Find a Dentist service if they don’t currently have a regular dentist so members are encouraged to ensure their practice details are current.)

For a full suite of WCFFDay resources, visit acffglobal.org/acff-projects/wcffday