In order to carry out our objectives, a global project entitled “Prevention, control and possible eradication of dental caries in Venezuelan children” was completed. This project contained 4 sub-projects:
Sub-project 1: Determination of the experience of dental caries in children under 6 years of age in Venezuela.
Sub-project 2: Design, validation and application of instruments that lead to effective and efficient behavioral changes in oral health care, mothers, and children under 6 years of age
Sub-project 3: Design, validation and application of treatment protocols to reduce and eventually eradicate the disease in children under 6 years, over a period of 5 years.
Sub-project 4: Development of alternative methodologies oriented to the design and implementation of social programs and projects framed in the strategic linkage of governmental and private entities.
Initially, a clinical survey on dental caries was conducted in Maracaibo, Zulia state as part of the Sub- project 1. As part of Sub-project 2 a questionnaire on practices of oral care was designed and validated, and an intervention protocol for implementation in the child population was designed as part of Sub-project 3.
On April 11, 2012, the Scientific Technical Group for the Control of Dental Caries in children under 6 years of age in Venezuela was relaunched as the Alliance for a Cavity Free Future, Venezuelan Chapter. This event was celebrated during the Congreso de la Sociedad Venezolana de Operatoria Estética y Biomateriales in Caracas, Venezuela.
As part of the strategies to control dental caries in preschool children in Venezuela we performed educational campaigns (Prevention Day) in the capital city and in the Vargas state (700 school children). This campaign was directed to motivate and change oral health habits in the school population. The activities were performed in alliance with Colgate Palmolive School Plan. Below you can see photos of the activity.
Before we designed the intervention protocol, two clinical studies we carried out. In 2012, a clinical study to evaluate the effectiveness of a combined treatment Varnish/sealants was realized in indigenous Pemon community in Canaima, Bolivar state and revaluated yearly. A second clinical study to evaluate the effectiveness of 4 treatments was also conducted in the indigenous Pemon in Canaima. Based on the results of these studies, we designed an intervention protocol that was later presented to the Venezuelan health authorities (MPPS). In 2015, we started a clinical study at las Mayas preschool located in the Libertador Municipality, Caracas Venezuela to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention protocol in controlling dental caries in 149 preschool children. The results indicated a significant reduction in the prevalence of dental caries as well as the number of active caries lesions in the study population. In 2018, this protocol was presented to the Venezuelan health authorities for implementation on a national level. However, this initiative, so far, has not been successful. Therefore, as a Venezuelan Chapter we have decided to apply the protocol in several schools at the municipality level in the capital district , working in collaboration with the municipality school authorities and the community.
In 2019, we applied the intervention protocol in three schools of El Hatillo Municipality with the participation of approximately 350 children ages 2 to 5 years. As part of the protocol, a daily tooth brushing was implemented by the teachers in each school. We are planning to apply the protocol in others municipalities in the country. We believe this strategy to control dental caries during childhood will be more effective than one-off interventions throughout the year.
Our working team at the Maria de Liscano preschool, El Hatillo, Venezuela.
Our working team at the Conopoima preschool, El Hatillo Venezuela
The Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future, Venezuelan Chapter, established collaboration with the Venezuelan Division of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), where one of our members acted as a national patron and calibrated the examiners that participate in a Latin-American regional project coordinated by the Argentinian and Peruvian Divisions of the IADR; 11 Latin American countries were included (OICAL).
Calibration Process using the modified ICDAS criteria for the OICAL-IADR Project
In addition to activities within the community, the Venezuelan Chapter of the Alliance organized a symposium for dental students, service dentists and general dentists with the objective of sharing the most updated information about dental caries as a disease and its non-operative management.
Symposium for dental students, dentist and educative speech for the community
We have also established a collaboration with pediatric dentistry, operative dentistry, prosthodontic, endodontic and orthodontic societies to spread this information to all their members and work together to achieve our objective of controlling dental caries in the Venezuelan population.
All these activities were possible with the collaboration of Cuatro por Venezuela Foundation, Colgate Palmolive Venezuela and Colgate Palmolive Canada.