Free Smile NZ dental day at Stratford surgery
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.
Stratford dentist Mary Anne Costelloe is taking part in Smile NZ free Dental Day.