January 09, 2020
DHB tackles tamariki tooth neglect
Hawke’s Bay District Health Board is trying to boost oral health in one of its poorest communities by offering walk-in dental exams and treatment next week for tamariki and rangatahi at its Totara Health community dental hub in Flaxmere.
No appointment is needed.
Dental services are free for those under 18.
Free toothbrushes and toothpaste would also be handed out.
Oral health and child development service manager Jeanette Frechtling says the DHB is keen to improve its oral health statistics for children, which means looking at its system and service barriers.
In 2019, dental attendance rates for tamariki Māori was 78.2 percent and Pasifika 77.5 percent compared with a 90.5 percent attendance rate for other children.
She says work and other commitments mean people often can’t make pre-planned appointments, so it hopes to make attendance easier by opening the doors during the school holidays for walk-in appointments.
As well as the oral health team, Totara Health has a kaiāwhina to korero with whānau and explain treatment or oral health care, as well as comforting those needing treatments who are nervous.
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