Health experts in New Zealand raise concerns as number of children with severe dental issues rises

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New Zealand health experts have raised concerns as statistics show that the number of children with severe dental issues has risen.

Although research suggests that children generally have better oral health than they did a decade ago, the number of young children with serious dental issues has increased. Dentists are worried that more and more young children are being hospitalised for dental treatment.

Wellington dentist, Cathy Fuge, owner of Bee Healthy, is one of many dentists across the country trying to raise standards of oral health among children. Dr Fuge said that while standards are on the up, there is growing concern for the number of young children who need procedures like extraction under general anaesthetic. Dr Fuge suggested that coming across a child with decay often leads to investigations revealing severe decay and this has very negative implications for their health and their general wellbeing. Children who are suffering with poor oral health may become withdrawn at school, they might miss valuable classes and they may lack confidence when they smile.

In light of concerns about children’s oral health, health authorities have introduced new initiatives to try and promote positive habits and raise awareness of the impact of poor oral hygiene, missing out on dental visits and excessive sugar consumption. One scheme, which has been backed by Dr Fuge, is a campaign to encourage children to drink more water. The campaign features Olympic pole-vaulter, Eliza McCartney and it is hoped that it will urge children to choose healthier alternatives to fizzy drinks.

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