Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


New oral health statistics worst on record

20 August 2006

New oral health statistics worst on record

Data showing a decline in the oral health of New Zealand five year olds is a reminder of what is lost when a government fails to invest in families, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

The latest oral health statistics show that the number of five year olds without missing, filled or decayed teeth has continued to decline since the mid-1990s. In 2004, only 52 per cent of five year olds were 'caries free' – this figure is now lower than the average for the 1990s.

Pete Hodgson also released initial data from Northland District Health Board for 2005 showing that the number of five year olds who are caries free has reached 31 per cent – the worst figure since records began in 1990.

Pete Hodgson said that the National Party's failure to invest in oral health services in the 1990s – and their decision to suspend training of dental therapists – had led to a shameful deterioration in the health of children that the government is only now in a position to address.

"The health of children should be a top priority for any government," Pete Hodgson said. "But in the 1990s, the National Government made a series of decisions that led to a decline in public dental services – we're now seeing the evidence that they led to a dramatic deterioration in the health of our children.

"After the number of dental therapists fell by around half during the 1990s, the Labour-led government moved immediately to re-institute the training of dental therapists and opened new training schools in 2001 and 2002. With the first graduates entering the field now, we can reinvest in oral health services with the confidence that there will be a workforce to support them.

"With the decline in oral health status continuing, the need for re-investment could not be more urgent. In May's budget I announced that the Labour-led government would invest $40 million in oral health services over the next four years on top of $100 million in capital spending.

"I'll soon announce the details of significant changes to the way we deliver public oral health services."

Pete Hodgson has previously announced that an improvement in health services for children was one of his top priorities for the 2006/07 financial year.

Attached: Summary of latest oral health statistics

Contact: Jason Knauf, Press Secretary, (04) 471 9918 or (021) 719 881, email: Jason.Knauf@parliament.govt.nz, http://www.beehive.govt.nz/hodgson

Oral health of New Zealand five year olds

In 2004 (the last year with complete national data), the oral health of young New Zealanders continued the decline it began in 1996-97.

- Only 52 per cent of five year olds were caries free (without missing, decayed or filled teeth) – this figure is lower than the average for the 1990s

- Children in fluoridated regions faired far better than children in non-fluoridated regions

- Maori and Pacific children, and children in rural areas have significantly worse oral health than the national average
- Complete 2004 data is available at http://www.newhealth.govt.nz/toolkits/oralhealth/sdsdata2004.xls

Pete Hodgson has also released initial data from 2005 for three district health boards. The data shows remarkable inequalities across regions and ethnicities.

- In Northland, only 31 per cent of 5 year olds are caries free – the worst figure since records began in 1990

- For Maori five year olds in Northland, only 14.3 per cent are caries free, while the figure for Pacific children is only slightly better at 25 per cent

- Hawke's Bay children are significantly closer to the national average, but still only 47.8 per cent of five year olds in the region are without decayed teeth – the figures for Maori and Pacific children are 28.5 and 33.8 per cent respectively

- The Hutt Valley has significantly better oral health than the rest of New Zealand – 66 per cent of five year olds are caries free

- Still, both Maori and Pacific children have significantly worse oral health than others in the Hutt Valley, with around 50 per cent of both groups with decayed, missing or filled teeth


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news