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Forsyth Scientists Wiping Out Tooth Decay Through School-based Cavities Prevention Program

Today, during the 85th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, Forsyth Institute scientists are reporting that they have developed an effective program for eliminating cavities. //This program, called ForsythKids, is an innovative school-based cavity prevention program, which provides elementary school children with oral health education, dental exams, cleanings and preventive care. For children enrolled in the program, one round of treatment reduced new cavities by 50%. After two rounds of the Forsyth model of prevention there was virtually no new tooth decay.

ForsythKids confronts one of today’s most pressing oral health challenges: delivering effective oral health care to children at risk of decay. The goal of the program is to increase access and improve health, while creating a model that can be replicated in any community. The elementary school children enrolled in ForsythKids receive a dental exam, tooth cleaning, preventive care consisting of sealants, fluoride, temporary fillings when necessary, and oral health education two times a year without ever leaving their school.

Of the children enrolled in the pilot program, 77% had untreated cavities and 13% had acute infections or abscesses. "Our initial studies have shown that you can effectively prevent, what is today, the most common childhood disease – tooth decay," said Richard Niederman, DMD, Director, Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry at The Forsyth Institute. "Just two weeks ago we saw a terrible tragedy in the national news about a tooth infection that led to the untimely death of a 12-year old boy, who like thousands of other children, did not have access to dental care. Through programs like the ForsythKids we can eliminate barriers to care and improve the health of all children."

The ForsythKids program began as a pilot in two elementary schools in each of three Massachusetts communities: Lynn, Hyannis and Boston. Today, the ForsythKids p
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