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EIOH Awarded $6M to Study Novel Approach Against Severe Tooth Decay

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

University of Rochester Medical Center's Eastman Institute for Oral Health has been awarded $6 million to continue the fight against severe tooth decay among children, which is alarmingly prevalent among minority and indigenous U.S. children. It is difficult to treat effectively and often recurs following treatment.

The standard of care for severe tooth decay (Severe Early Childhood Caries) in very young children revolves around treatment in a surgical operating suite under general anesthesia, followed by application of 5% topical fluoride varnish, family counseling regarding feeding behaviors and oral hygiene instruction. However, these interventions have had only limited success. Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease.

"Novel and more aggressive approaches are needed because clinical studies show about 40% of children treated for severe tooth decay will develop new cavities within 12 months of treatment," said Dorota Kopycka-Kedzierawski, DDS, MPH, EIOH professor and principal investigator for the study.

Severe tooth decay is very painful and impacts children's ability to eat, speak, sleep and learn.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, will examine the effectiveness of a topical anti-microbial agent, designed to prevent new cavities that require surgical intervention after initial treatment and oral rehabilitation in young children with severe tooth decay.

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