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MPs and school principals to brush up on oral care

MPs and school principals to brush up on oral care

Nearly half school principals believe New Zealanders have poor oral health, with many believing more quality education needs to be provided to help people care for their teeth and gums.

These views were some of the key findings of an Oral-B survey designed to establish the oral health standards of key role models. The survey followed scrutiny of the condition of children's dental health during Dental Health Foundation 'Smile Week' last month.

Joining principals in the survey were MPs, providing a representative cross-section of New Zealanders, but the findings show people in high places may not be leading by example.

About 60 percent of both groups have more than six fillings and nearly 15 percent of those surveyed only brush their teeth once a day.

Nearly three quarters of MPs and more than half of the principals who took part have been advised by their dentist or dental hygienist they have evidence of gingival disease or a build up of plaque or tartar.

"The recent Oral-B survey of MPs and school principals is a further indication of the importance of promoting oral hygiene and preventive care with New Zealanders," says Robyn Watson, President of the New Zealand Dental Hygienists Association.

"There are a number of simple ways people can ensure a healthy mouth such as cleaning their teeth with an effective toothbrush like a rechargeable power brush, reducing sugar intake and seeing a dental professional regularly."

But the news is not all bad for MPs and principals on the preventive care front.

The recommended electric-rechargeable power toothbrush is the most popular tool for our nation's leaders, selected largely because their dental professional recommended it and it provides a professional clean feeling.

About half of principals and MPs brush their teeth for the recommended two minutes per session.

Some MPs are particularly keen to keep their vital assets - their mouths - in tiptop shape, with nearly two thirds brushing their teeth longer than the suggested two minutes at a time and nearly half cleaning their pearly whites three times per day.

The majority of school principals brush their teeth the recommended two times per day.

And when principals are hard at work managing budgets and teaching the next generation, what do they do to alleviate that furry feeling between brushes? The majority reach for a piece of cleansing fruit but thankfully only a small five percent use the 'finger rub' technique!

Asked why is it important in their job to have a healthy, attractive smile about 80 percent of both groups stated, "to feel well groomed when interacting with people". More than a third of principals answered, "to lead by example" in response to the same question.

Which MP has the nicest smile according to his peers? It is none other than the smooth talking New Zealand First leader, the Rt Hon Winston Peters.


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