Laura Baker.

Nelson Mail - - WELL&GOOD -

There’s no lack of ex­cuses we use for why we don’t need to go to the den­tist. From ‘‘it’s too ex­pen­sive’’, to ‘‘I don’t like nee­dles’’, or ‘‘I don’t have painful teeth’’, even ‘‘I do have pain, but it’ll go away’’. As a na­tion we’re well prac­tised at jus­ti­fy­ing our well over­due check­ups.

Sure, no­body en­joys go­ing to the den­tist, some might even dread the thought and that’s fair enough. Who wants to have sharp in­stru­ments poked and prod­ded around their mouth and then pay for the ex­pe­ri­ence?

But our ex­cuses aren’t fool­ing the oral health pro­fes­sion­als of this coun­try. The New Zealand Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion (NZDA) says poor den­tal health is a wide­spread prob­lem na­tion­wide and the stark lack of im­por­tance we place on our oral health is dis­turb­ing.

Abysmal den­tal health is a wide­spread prob­lem in this coun­try, re­ports

The as­so­ci­a­tion’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives ex­plain the tem­po­rary pain in our mouths and on our wal­lets is a heck of a lot bet­ter than the al­ter­na­tive many of us are putting our­selves at risk of.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Oral Health Sur­vey nearly half of adults, or 47 per cent, don’t visit the den­tist reg­u­larly.

Across the Tas­man our Aussie coun­ter­parts are show­ing us up. When com­pared with Aus­tralian adults, New Zealand adults had poorer oral health and were less likely to have seen a den­tal pro­fes­sional in the last year, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey.

Last year alone, 29,000 chil­dren aged be­tween 1 to 14-years-old had one or more teeth re­moved due to de­cay, pain or ab­scess.

Ap­prox­i­mately 40 per cent of 5-year-olds suf­fered from de­cay in one or more teeth. In Maori and

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