Growth of the ODA
Dental clinic in a Toronto high school - 1942
Post-World War II (1945)

The end of the Second World War and the return of Canada’s veterans gave rise to the baby boom and a growth in dentistry. As the dental profession grew, so too did the belief that preventative care was essential for protecting teeth. In 1946, the Ontario Dental Association (ODA) and Canadian Red Cross launched a pilot preventive program in the Niagara district. A specialist trained in dental public health provided education to parents, regularly inspected children's teeth and performed treatments in local dental offices. Two years after this program began, the overall dental health of children involved in the program improved, while other municipalities recorded annual increases in the number of childhood dental extractions and fillings.

This pilot program marked a turning point in dental public health in Ontario, as the project quickly attracted the interest of health authorities in other municipalities throughout the province. The lasting impact of these educational efforts were reflected in the Ministry of Health’s “Murphy the Molar”, a public education campaign piloted in part by public health dentist and ODA member Dr. Samuel M. Green.

Photo: Courtesy of the City of Toronto Archives