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ADA Foundation Funds Initiatives to Help Prevent Early Childhood Tooth Decay

10 community programs receive grants from its Samuel Harris Fund

CHICAGO, May 20, 2010—Infants and children from 10 U.S. communities will benefit from grants awarded this year by the ADA Foundation's (ADAF) Samuel Harris Fund to help prevent Early Childhood Caries (ECC) or tooth decay.

ECC affects more than 25 percent of U.S. infants and children aged one to six years. Sometimes referred to as “baby bottle” tooth decay, it is a rampant form of acute decay made worse in infants and toddlers by  prolonged contact with almost any liquid other than water. This can happen by putting an infant to bed with a bottle of formula, milk, juice or any beverage containing sugar, or allowing them to suck on a bottle or breastfeed for longer than a single mealtime, either when awake or asleep. Left untreated, this decay can cause pain and impact a child’s ability to chew and speak properly.
Programs share $50,000 in funding.

This year's Harris Fund winners designed programs that focus on preventing ECC, including an educational component for pregnant and parenting mothers and caregivers. The following organizations  received grants, sharing some $50,000:

Colorado Area Health Education Center          
Aurora, Colo.
La Clinica de La Raza
Oakland, Calif.
Primary Health Care, Inc
Urbandale, Iowa
Children’s Dental Services                                     
Minneapolis, Minn. 
St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation
Billings, Mont.
Community Health & Emergency Services
Carbondale, Ill.
Youth & Family Services, Inc.
Rapid City, S.D.
Dental Aid, Inc.
Louisville, Colo.
Geisinger Health System Foundation      
Daville, Penn. 
New York University
New York, N.Y.

Harris Fund established to help prevent childhood tooth decay

Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease. Left untreated, cavities can cause pain, dysfunction, school absences, difficulty concentrating, and poor appearance—problems that greatly affect a child’s quality of life and ability to succeed. Educating families/caregivers and children to help them care for their mouths, prevent disease, and seek dental care are keys to a lifetime of good oral health.

Established by the ADA Foundation in 1999, the Samuel Harris Fund is a permanent endowment, with a main objective of funding prevention and education programs to improve dental health of underserved children and combat tooth decay. Updates on the 2010-2011 cycle of ADAF Harris Fund grants will be available at after October 2010.

About the ADA Foundation

The ADA Foundation strives to improve human health through improved oral health. Since 1991, the ADA Foundation has disbursed nearly $37.5 million dollars to support such charitable activities. In addition to funding grants for dental research, education, scholarships and access to care, the Foundation supports Charitable Assistance Programs such as relief grants to dentists and their dependents that are unable to support themselves due to injury, a medical condition or advanced age; and grants to dentists who are victims of declared disasters.