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Kiwis taking steps to improve dental health

Kiwis taking steps to improve dental health


The number of New Zealanders taking preventative steps to maintain their dental health has doubled in the last six months, according to the latest claims data from nib, New Zealand’s second largest health insurance provider.

In the six months to 31 December 2014, the number of preventative dental-related claims paid by the health insurer rose by almost 95%, with general dental claims also jumping 140% during the same period.

nib New Zealand, Chief Executive Officer, Mr Rob Hennin, said the rise in preventative dental claims highlights that Kiwis are taking more responsibility for their dental health.

"As we all know prevention is better than cure, so it’s great to see more of our customers visiting their local dentist to get a check-up, scale and clean to make sure their oral health is on the right track," Mr Hennin said.

The figures which come ahead of World Oral Health Day this week support the increasing trend towards improved oral health in the country.

Results from the latest "Our Oral Health Survey" conducted by the Ministry of Health showed a dramatic improvement in Kiwi oral health since 1988 generally, however, the majority of adult New Zealanders only visited the dentist when they had a problem rather than for routine dental check-ups*.

One of the key findings of the survey was that cost was a major barrier to accessing oral health services with 44.1% of adults avoiding dental care due to the high associated costs.

"Our EveryDay covers which we launched in October 2013 allow our customers to avoid such out of pocket costs by providing cover for day-to-day health expenses such as dental check-ups and if required major dental treatment such as wisdom teeth," Mr Hennin said.

"By helping our customers to afford regular preventative treatment, we can assist them avoid many oral diseases and in turn improve their oral health for years to come," he added.

This Friday 20 March 2015 is World Oral Health Day which promotes the importance of looking after oral hygiene worldwide.

*Ministry of Health. 2010. Our Oral Health: Key findings of the 2009 New Zealand Oral Health Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

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