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New Zealanders need a dental debate

New Zealanders need a dental debate

Dropping free dental care for children will make NZ’s dental health worse not better, says Jim Anderton. He was responding to the New Zealand Dental Association’s reaction to his call to make dental health care more affordable to all Kiwis.

“David Crum’s (Chief Executive New Zealand Dental Association) response to drop free dental health care to children is not the answer.

“Cost is an important factor but the Dental Association’s response to target the funds to those ‘who most need it’ is unrealistic. It will only mean New Zealanders health status worsens.

“We need to roll out the current model for children to everyone and educate the nation on how important preventative oral hygiene is to overall health. If we do not make dental health care a provision for all Kiwis, we face serious health problems down the road. Good oral health prevention is far cheaper than expensive surgery.

“Kiwis are living longer and a majority still have their own teeth but many of our super- annuitants cannot afford to visit a dentist regularly. There are no provisions in rest homes or the training required to maintain oral health.

“Too many Kiwis are forced to resort to extractions as their main form of dental treatment as they are letting their teeth deteriorate rather than visit a dentist. It’s high time we had a serious debate about dental health care before it is too late”, said Jim Anderton.

Jim Anderton is planning to launch an in-depth policy document to stimulate discussion about ways to fill the dental care hole in the health system within the next month.

Contact Jim Anderton on 021 777 680 Or Jacqui McCabe (press secretary) on 021 251 1801


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