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UCSF receives $24.4 million to fight early childhood cavities
Date:12/18/2008

The UCSF School of Dentistry has received the largest grant in its history: $24.4 million from the National Institutes of Health to address socio-economic and cultural disparities in oral health.

The seven-year grant, which is funded through the NIH National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, will enable the UCSF Center to Address Disparities in Children's Oral Health (nicknamed CAN DO) to launch new programs in preventing early childhood tooth decay. The programs will include new research to compare methods to prevent dental caries in children, as well as efforts to integrate and implement current scientific understanding across a variety of primary care and social service settings.

NIH also tapped UCSF as the Data Coordinating Center for three of the funded centers: UCSF, Boston University and University of Colorado, Denver. These three centers are being collectively called the Early Childhood Caries Collaborative Centers. Each center includes two randomized clinical trials and all are focused on preventing early childhood caries in different vulnerable, high risk populations.

"Dental caries is the most common chronic disease among children and it is becoming more prevalent nationwide, disproportionately among children in low-income families and certain minority groups," said John Featherstone, PhD, dean of the UCSF School of Dentistry. "This disease is very difficult and expensive to treat in young children, but it is largely preventable."

Dental caries is an infectious disease and is one of the most prevalent health conditions in the United States, according to the NIH, and disparities in oral health echo across the life span.

The 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, from the Centers for Disease Control, illustrated these disparities in children by race/ethnicity, with 42 percent of Mexican American and 32 percent of black children ages 2-5 having decayed or filled teeth, comp
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Contact: Kristen Bole
kbole@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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