One in eight New Zealand young people (2 – 17 years) had time away from school or ECE last year due to problems with their teeth. For one in nine children, their parent took time off work in the last year due to problems with their child’s teeth or mouth. 
Good oral health is more than just having good teeth and a nice smile - it is important for good health and well-being. Teeth are important for good nutrition, language development, and self-esteem.
Tooth decay is associated with speech development problems, difficulty sleeping, lost school days, and difficulty learning and concentrating. Most cases of tooth decay are preventable.
Establishing good oral health habits early has benefits over a child’s whole lifetime. Tooth decay in baby teeth is associated with tooth decay in adult teeth, which in turn is associated with diabetes and heart disease.
Check out this video on how WAVE helped Rural Scholars Early Learning Centre with their Oral Health programme.
The South Canterbury District Health Board funds the ‘Child Nutrition and Oral Health Promoter’ to work with the South Canterbury community to create environments that promote good oral health from an early age. This includes:
Does your setting celebrate oral health days?
Baby teeth are important and necessary for the health of permanent teeth, and parents and caregivers are encouraged to brush their little one's teeth twice a day with flouride toothpaste.
Check out the Baby Teeth Matter video:
The Community Dental Service provides FREE dental care to eligible children living in South Canterbury or Canterbury from birth until School Year 8. If you are new to the region you need to enrol with the Community Dental Service. To enrol or to make an appointment contact the Community Dental Service: 0800 TINTY TEETH (846 983) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Teenagers can have a FREE dental check-up from a local dentist until their 18th birthday if they are at school, on a course, working or looking for work. Call 0800 TALK TEETH (0800 825 583) for more information or email@example.com. To find a dentist in South Canterbury click here.
www.cph.co.nz - Looking after your teeth whatever the age, Community & Public Health (Canterbury)
www.cph.co.nz/order-resources - Order or download oral health posters and pamphlets from Community & Public Health
www.cdhb.health.nz - Community Dental Service
www.nzda.org.nz - New Zealand Dental Association
www.letstalkteeth.co.nz - Caring for baby teeth, Ministry of Health
www.health.govt.nz/oral-health - Guide to oral health services
www.health.govt.nz/teeth-and-gums - How to care for teeth and gums
www.fluoridefacts.govt.nz - Facts on community water fluoridation