Encouraging Trends in Child Oral Health

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has welcomed the Ministry of Health’s update of key New Zealand Health Survey results, released today.

The data shows an increase to 84 per cent of children (aged 1 to 14 years) visiting a dental health care worker in the preceding 12 months, up from 76 per cent in 2006-07 and 79 per cent in 2011-12.

The number of children who have had teeth extracted has also come down, from 3.9 per cent in 2011-12 to 3.4 per cent in 2014-15.

“The Government’s priority is to improve the oral health of children and adolescents in particular, through prevention, education, early intervention and treatment. This is because there is good evidence to show that good oral health early in life has benefits that last a lifetime,” said Mr. Dunne.

“Oral health care services for children and young people up to their 18th birthday are free in New Zealand – and we need to make sure people are enrolled and using these services. The continued increase in children visiting a dental health care worker is encouraging and I hope to see it continue to increase.”

“I strongly encourage all parents and caregivers to take an active interest in their children’s oral health,” Mr Dunne said.

The Community Oral Health Service, formerly named the School Dental Service, has undergone a major transformation over the last seven years with $116m in new capital funding provided to District Health Boards (DHBs) to build and re-develop dental facilities, and an additional $32m each year to support services that provide free basic dental care to New Zealand children. – New Zealand Government