Dental Association says price not the only reason fewer Kiwis getting teeth checked




The New Zealand Dental Association doesn't believe the high cost of going to the dentist is to blame for the low rate of Kiwis getting their teeth checked each year.

The New Zealand Dental Association says they don't think the high cost of going to the dentist is to blame for the low rate of dental appointments.
Source: Breakfast

Ministry of Health figures show only 47.5 per cent of Kiwis over the age of 15 visited the dentist for the year ending June 2016.

And that figure is consistently dropping.

President of the New Zealand Dental Association Susan Gorrie says she doesn't believe it's the cost of the dentist that is putting people off making an appointment.

Ms Gorrie told TVNZ 1's Breakfast programme this morning that going to the dentist isn't a "high priority" for most New Zealanders.

"They're anxious about going to the dentist so they put it off, or (say) it's not going to happen to them, they're not in any pain at the moment so they'll give it a miss for another year."

Ms Gorrie says Kiwis have a good start in New Zealand with dental care being free from birth until they're 18.

"We should hit 18 with really good teeth, knowing how to look after them.

"Only 80 per cent of those (who are) eligible go. Even when the cost is not a factor, people still don't go."

She acknowledges there is little financial assistance for lower income families who can only access funding from WINZ for emergency work.

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