23 Dec 2014

Govt needs to 'step up for dental education'

7:58 pm on 23 December 2014

A Maori Dentist says the Government needs to step in to help prevent high rates of children getting their teeth pulled out.

The latest annual [ http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/262425/survey-reveals-nation's-health Health Survey results] showed the number of children who had teeth removed due to decay, an abscess, infection or gum disease in the past year has risen.

Four point one percent of children aged between 1 and 14 had surgery last year - up from 3.6 percent the previous year.

For Maori tamariki, the rate was 5 percent.

Dr Scott Waghorn, who runs a dental practice in west Auckland, said the amount of Maori children needing their teeth removed is increasing.

He said some are as-young-as two and three years old, whose parents have been giving them sugary drinks as young as 18 months.

Dr Waghorn said he finds parents were not educated enough in making healthy choices therefore the Government needed to step in, like it did in other areas when children were in potential harm.