Pinoy Smile is for parents, grandparents and caregivers in the Filipino diaspora who seek information on the care of their children's teeth.
This site was created by the Healthy Teeth, Healthy Families research group in the Division of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of British Columbia.

Pinoy Smile aims to provide dental health information which take into consideration Filipino beliefs, attitudes and practices on dental health.

We strive to continuously improve Pinoy Smile to better serve you. We welcome comments, suggestions, and questions! Contact us at khristine.carino@ubc.ca

The Healthy Teeth, Healthy Families research project was conceived as a response to dentists’ reports of high tooth decay levels in children of Filipinos in the Metro Vancouver area.

The project is divided into three phases.

Phase 1 was a survey to get a snapshot of the dental health of Metro Vancouver's Filipino-Canadian children. Over two-thirds of the children who had a dental check up had tooth decay. Early signs of tooth decay were detected in children as young as 14 months old and cavities (“holes”) were seen in children as young as 22 months. Very few of the children who had tooth decay have been to the dentist for treatment. Of those who had treatment, some children needed general anesthesia to fix (and in some cases remove) rotten baby teeth.

Phase 2 was a survey to look into the Filipino perspective of child rearing and care of children's teeth. The result of Phase 1 was similar to dental health reports on children in the Philippines and children of Filipinos in Hawaii and Australia. Therefore, in Phase 2, we wanted to find out if Filipino child rearing practices contributed to children’s susceptibility to tooth decay. Our resource persons were parents, grandparents and other child-caregivers from the Filipino immigrant community in Metro Vancouver. We learned that Filipinos regard the teeth as an important part of beauty and a marker of cleanliness. However, our resource persons emphasized that the lack of information regarding the proper care of teeth of most Filipinos ----both children and adults---seems to be contributing to high rates of tooth decay.

Phase 3 is Pinoy Smile. Based on what we learned in phase 2, we are giving out dental health information in different forms---articles, question and answer, forum, music, video and comics. Piggybacking on the present popularity of internet social networking sites, we are delivering dental health information by linking with Filipinos all over the world through Friendster, Multiply and Facebook---the three most popular networking sites among Filipinos in the diaspora.

Support for this project is from the S. Wah Leung Endowment Fund, a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Health Professional Student Research Award, a UBC Faculty of Dentistry Undergraduate Summer Research Student Award and CIHR RCT Grant FRN 67817.


Dr. Cariño spearheads Healthy Teeth, Healthy Families and Pinoy Smile. She is research coordinator of these projects and also a postdoctoral fellow at the UBC Division of Pediatric Dentistry. A dentist from the Philippines, she used to teach at the university and work at her own private clinic in Baguio City. Dr. Cariño completed her PhD at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University. As a graduate student, she received the IADR/Lion Dental Research Award from the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) for her research on the dental health of children in Northern Philippines. Her research on the dental health of Japanese-Filipino children was also recognized with an award by the IADR-Southeast Asian Division. Her interest in improving Filipino children's dental health starts at home: she is mother to three- year- old Kaitlyn and six-month-old Cayden.

UBC DMD 2012

Travis is a dental student at the University of British Columbia. He designed the Pinoy Smile website as a summer research student funded by the 2009 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Health Professional Student Research Award and the UBC Faculty of Dentistry Undergraduate Summer Research Student Award. Travis also received the Pacific Blue Cross Entrance Scholarship in Dentistry. Having worked as a children's entertainer in the past, he is considering a future career in pediatric dentistry.


Dr. Harrison is professor and head of the UBC Division of the Pediatric Dentistry. She has been involved in award-winning health promotion projects focusing on the prevention of Early Childhood Tooth Decay and improving access to dental care for immigrant, aboriginal and low-income children.