The Phillips Renner Foundation, a public charity, works to reduce inequities in nutrition, dental care, and education by delivering high-impact health services and products to the children of the world's poorest communities.
Infectious dental disease and lack of adequate nutritional information are leading causes of childhood mortality and retarded development. Not only do we assess and treat children's dental needs in under-developed areas, we also provide nutrition and prevention education to their parents.
Early childhood nutritional and dental education and intervention are necessary to total health. Current research indicates a child's addiction to sugars begins with the mother's diet. If a mother's craving for sugar can be reduced it is more likely that her child will not crave refined sugars. We use education to target the mistaken idea that a child's first teeth are not important because they fall out. High sugar intake and lack of basic dental care — tooth brushing — in childhood often lead to serious dental infection, abscesses, and extractions. If we can break this cycle, children can grow up with little or no dental disease and better health.
From our work worldwide, we know that with proper nutrition, daily tooth brushing, and prevention measures such as fluoride application, children can remain dental caries free. The critical ages to protect a child's teeth are between six and twelve. The loss of the critical first molars destroys dentition for a lifetime. Unfortunately, in the communities we serve worldwide, dentistry is either too expensive or non-existent. Our foundation is committed to providing modern surgical and restorative techniques to those communities and to training their children and parents to maintain dental health into adulthood.
Our close work with these local communities offers us other opportunities. Often we will see a child with an undiagnosed medical condition which we can treat or can refer to an appropriate medical facility. Another of our priorities is to focus on interactions with the members of the local community to educate and encourage healthy development of their children. Finally, our foundation provides English language education for children. In this globalized world, English is the language of the internet and commerce. Children with a basic command of English have a better chance to break out of the cycle of poverty in which they find themselves.