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Dental Association calls for low-income adult dental access

The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) is calling for better government funding for low-income adults to access dental care this World Oral Health Day (20 March).

NZDA is urging that a better approach is needed for targeting low-income adults who are unable to afford urgent and necessary dental treatment.

“We need to come up with a system that targets the most vulnerable members of society for assistance,” said NZDA President Dr Bill O’Connor.

“World Oral Health Day is a great opportunity to highlight the message that for some people, cost is a key barrier, in accessing dental care.

The data is very clear – New Zealand adults have experienced dramatic improvements in oral health since the 1980s with the lifetime experience of dental decay almost halving in people aged 20 to 24 and 35 to 44.

Whilst approximately half of New Zealand adults see a dentist very regularly - at least annually - many others attend only when they perceive a dental problem is occurring, and particularly low income and no income adults see cost as a significant barrier.

“Some truly cannot afford care, and for these groups we must do better, and that involves working with government on a better deal.”

NZDA’s Position Statement: Access to Oral Health Services for Low Income Adults recommends the development of a national action plan to reduce the barriers to access dental care.

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