Free Smile NZ den­tal day at Strat­ford surgery

Stratford Press - - News - By ILONA HANNE

Some Strat­ford res­i­dents will have an ex­tra rea­son to smile as they take ad­van­tage of a free den­tal day later this month.

Strat­ford Den­tal is par­tic­i­pat­ing in Smile NZ Free Den­tal Day, and den­tist Mary Anne Costel­loe says she is de­lighted to be part of the event.

“I see it as a way to help the com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially as den­tal care is vi­tal to healthy liv­ing.”

While the event is in its fourth year, it is the first time Taranaki den­tists have been in­volved, and Mary Anne says she is pos­i­tive the event will have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the com­mu­nity.

“90 per cent of den­tal de­cay in New Zealand oc­curs in just 11 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion. Sadly den­tal care can eas­ily drop off the bud­get in fam­i­lies where money is tight.”

Mary Anne says par­tic­i­pat­ing in the na­tion­wide free den­tal day run by South­ern Cross Health Trust and the Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion is just one way to help ad­dress the prob­lem.

“Ev­ery­one can take ac­tion to im­prove their own den­tal health, sim­ply by brush­ing their teeth with a flu­o­ride tooth­paste twice a day if their wa­ter sup­ply is flu­o­ri­dated and three times a day if the wa­ter isn’t flu­o­ri­dated.”

Mary Anne says as den­tal care is free in New Zealand for un­der 18s, par­ents should make sure their chil­dren have reg­u­lar check ups.

“Not just when they are lit­tle, but teenagers too. Things like en­ergy drinks and recre­ational drugs like P are par­tic­u­larly detri­men­tal to den­tal health, but reg­u­lar check ups with your den­tist can ad­dress prob­lems as they arise.”

Not­ing “it’s the bor­ing things which are good for you,” Mary Anne says while wa­ter is ob­vi­ously the best op­tion when it comes to hav­ing a drink, even choosing a home-baked afghan bis­cuit over an en­ergy drink can help.

“It’s that mid-af­ter­noon point that causes trou­ble and temp­ta­tion for peo­ple, when you want a quick en­ergy boost. It is far bet­ter for your teeth to opt for some­thing home baked than a fizzy drink at that point.”

Eat­ing sen­si­bly with three meals a day, “or more for chil­dren” also helps stave those low en­ergy points she says, and in turn, that helps limit den­tal de­cay.

The tooth fairy only comes once for each tooth, she points out.

“We only get one adult set of teeth in our life, so if you are go­ing to live into your 90s, that’s a long time to have the same teeth. You need to look af­ter them right from the start.”

While peo­ple think den­tal care is costly, Mary Anne says it as im­por­tant an in­vest­ment as any­thing else.

“Peo­ple seem to be happy to spend money on hair or makeup, but then pause when it comes to den­tal costs. A smile is a great first im­pres­sion and is worth in­vest­ing in.”

Mary Anne says she hopes the free den­tal care day will give the re­cip­i­ents more than just a smile for the day, say­ing she hopes it en­cour­ages healthy habits for life.

■ www.nzda.org.nz/pub­lic/ourini­tia­tives/free-den­tal-days

Strat­ford den­tist Mary Anne Costel­loe is tak­ing part in Smile NZ free Den­tal Day.

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