Vietnam Tooth Project (UC Berkeley)

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Despite decades of child nutrition initiatives, the rates of malnutrition throughout the developing world have remained high, and there is a need to explore new strategies to address this problem. Among the strategies to reduce malnutrition, there has been little exploration of the role of severe tooth decay—which is an infectious disease and the most prevalent chronic disease worldwide, currently affecting 50-95% of young children in developing countries. Over the past 2 decades, with rapid modernization and increased marketing and consumption of non-nutritious processed foods such as candy and soda, Vietnam and other developing countries face serious emerging risks to children’s oral health and nutrition. This Big Ideas project aims to solve two global health epidemics—severe early childhood tooth decay and malnutrition—using simple, low-cost interventions: fluoride dental varnish, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and oral health/nutrition education to improve the health and well-being of children in areas that currently lack access to these resources.

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