The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) continues to be concerned about the dental health of Pasifika people in New Zealand.
The recently released report Bula Sautu: A window on quality 2021: Pacific health in the year of Covid-19 highlighted wider concerns over Pasifika general health.
NZDA member, and Pasifika public health dentist, Dr Tule Fanakava Misa says with figures showing only 36 percent of five-year-old Pacific children being free of caries (tooth decay) compared with 69 percent of non-Māori, non-Pacific children are really alarming and heart breaking.
“Pasifika dental health concerns should not be forgotten, and these data show just how bad the inequities and inequalities have become,” said Dr Fanakava Misa.
“We need to do better for all people in New Zealand to enjoy good oral health, and this starts with improving oral health for those in the vulnerable communities.
“A new health system is on the horizon in New Zealand, and dental care needs to be an important component of this, not only the provision of dental treatment like drilling and filling, but with a big emphasis placed on prevention.
The reduction of sugary drinks and snacks, extension of community water fluoridation delivery, and improved education programmes around brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing,” said Dr Fanakava Misa.