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Launch Of Oral Health Month 2008

- For a smile that will last a lifetime -

The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) and Colgate have launched the fifth annual Oral Health Month, which aims to raise awareness of good oral hygiene amongst New Zealanders.

Recent research indicates only 51% of Kiwi adults have visited a dental health professional in the past year[1], and almost half of all New Zealand children aged 2-14 have fillings[2].

Dr David Crum, Executive Director of the NZDA says Oral Health Month is an important reminder to New Zealanders to place a priority on the oral health of themselves and particularly for the children in their families.

“I was shocked to learn one in nine New Zealand children by the age of 14 years2 has had a tooth extracted because of dental decay, abscess, infection or gum disease. This is unacceptably high, unfair on children and reflects the poor record of oral hygiene that is occurring in the homes of New Zealand families.”

“As parents we need to do better. Dental decay is preventable and dental care for children is free. Having a healthy mouth is incredibly important and it’s not just about having a sparkling smile, poor oral health can lead to pain as well as difficulty eating and speaking.

“A simple routine of cleaning, using fluoride toothpaste, having sensible diets and seeking regular dental care allows parents to take responsibility for their children’s teeth thus preventing serious conditions such as abscesses and infections in the mouth, gum disease and tooth decay.”

“The great news is that the key to good dental hygiene can be broken down to four simple steps: brushing, flossing, rinsing and regular visits to your health professional.”

To help promote awareness throughout Oral Health Month (August) the New Zealand Dental Association and Colgate will run a series of events in Auckland and Dunedin giving Kiwis the chance to gain free oral healthcare tips from Dental professionals and final year Dental Therapy and Hygiene students.

Deepa Krishnan, Colgate/NZDA Educator says the Oral Health Month events offer New Zealanders the chance to gain expert advice.

“The events will give Kiwis the opportunity to ask all their dental health questions in a friendly environment. Our professionals and Dental students will be able to offer advice on everything from the best flossing technique to the ideal products for their children to use. They will also refer people to dental professionals for a more thorough appointment where necessary.”


[1] Use of Health Care Professionals and Hospitals from A Portrait of Health – Key results of the 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey, New Zealand Ministry of Health.

[2] Health Conditions from A Portrait of Health – Key results of the 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey, New Zealand Ministry of Health.

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