The result of a Government report which reveals the extent of Kiwi children’s dental problems is an embarrassment for a first world country such as ours, says New Zealand First health spokesperson Barbara Stewart.
“The alarming statistics show 34,000 children under 14 had extractions in 2012. Waikato Hospital’s oral surgery department alone has a waiting list of 100 children at any one time.”
Mrs Stewart says the question now is whether Health Minister Tony Ryall will do anything to rectify the problem given that small children are not responsible for their own dental hygiene.
“There are obviously too many parents who are blissfully unaware until it is too late that consuming sugar in any form without cleaning teeth afterwards can have disastrous consequences.
“It is time to invest in an urgent public health campaign – along the lines of the smoke alarm campaign on television – aimed at increasing parental awareness.
“Otherwise we’re faced with the prospect of on-going costs, children suffering unnecessarily, and a generation of toothless teenagers, said Mrs Stewart.