Colgate teams up with Plunket and the New Zealand Dental Association to alleviate New Zealand’s cavity count
Early childhood tooth decay is a common and costly disease so Colgate, Plunket and the New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) are working together to establish healthy oral hygiene habits in Kiwi kids from a young age.
Colgate gives a toothbrush and toothpaste to every new Plunket baby at their five month visit, along with educational resources for parents, in a bid to combat early childhood caries, also known as tooth decay or cavities.
Colgate Scientific Affairs manager Rebecca Schipper says oral disease and its consequences like pain and selfconsciousness, can have a profound effect on a person’s quality of life and future ability to gain employment, highlighting the importance of taking care of children’s teeth.
‘‘The proportion of children visiting a dental professional each year is lowest in the two to four year old age bracket, but starting early with a fun, quick check up is a great way to prevent bigger problems,’’ she says.
‘‘Oral disease is one of the most preventable chronic diseases in New Zealand. Visiting a dental professional and brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste could dramatically decrease the prevalence of cavities in Kiwi kids.
‘‘In communicating the importance of oral care to parents just before that first tooth breaks through, we believe we can keep many more kids smiling.’’
Plunket clinical advisor Allison Jamieson says, ‘‘We love being part of this initiative. Giving every new Plunket baby their first toothbrush and toothpaste helps parents realise just how important it is to start brushing as soon as those first teeth come through.
‘‘The educational resources are really helpful, and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from families,’’ Jamieson says.
‘‘The information, produced by Colgate and the NZDA, shows families how decay progresses, and how to spot signs of decay in the mouth, on teeth and around the gum line.
‘‘The resources demonstrate how to brush correctly, and also help us to show parents and children why we check their teeth and gums, and what we’re looking for.’’
The Report of the Health Committee also found worse oral health outcomes among children living in low socioeconomic areas, which Colgate, Plunket and the NZDA are addressing by providing additional resources in areas of need.
‘‘In areas of particular hardship, in addition to the toothpaste we can provide extra toothbrushes for the other children in the family at a new baby’s five month Plunket visit,’’ Schipper says.
Colgate, Plunket and the NZDA have been in partnership since 2007, and have provided approximately 50,000 toothbrushes and pastes to New Zealand infants each year since 2010.