Oral health survey reveals positive results in New Zealand

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An oral health survey has revealed that standards of oral health are improving in New Zealand.

Robyn Haisman, chief dental officer, said that the survey had produced pleasing results; this was the first survey that enabled ministers to get a snapshot of standards of oral health amongst both adults and children. The results of the survey show a vast improvement on oral health over the last 40 years; in the 1970’s, New Zealand had the highest rate of tooth loss in the whole of the developed world.

Dental Association executive director, David Crum, said the news was positive and attributed the improvements to the government’s dental programme for children and water fluoridation.

Despite the positive results, the survey was not all good news and the results revealed that there is still a way to go; 1 in 3 adults have untreated tooth decay and there are disparities between people from different social and economic backgrounds. Maori and Pacific children are less likely to attend regular dental examinations, according to the study and there is also evidence to suggest that people living in poorer communities are more likely to experience dental health problems.

In light of the results of the survey, health ministers have vowed to continue investing in dental services across the country.

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