Topic: Health

Children's tooth decay extraction numbers on rise - Dentist

By Talisa Kupenga
  • Auckland

An Auckland dentist says there has been a significant increase in the number of children sitting in his dental chair having teeth extracted because of tooth decay. Dentalcare West’s Director Dr Scott Waghorn is taking steps to further educate and encourage better oral health decisions in his community.

"The main reason is the priority of teeth is low and I think if you understood the importance of looking after the teeth before they get really decayed, they'd be running the door in but I think its maybe because they're a little bit whakamā [shy]  about the whole process."

To help change this he is starting a programme next month* to create facilitators within the community like mums to help better inform and educate their peers about oral health care needs.

Dr Waghorn says "you'll have a person who knows about a certain thing and you'll go to them for that advice so that's been my idea about how to improve it to help there be a conjugate between not knowing and a lack of understanding and scared, and the dentists so I've tried to bridge that gap."

Last year 29,000 children had teeth extracted due to abscesses, gum disease and tooth decay. The year prior 3000 children under the age of five had teeth extracted due to tooth decay.

Dr Waghorn says "I'd love anyone who's super interested in teeth and wants to become educated about teeth and help their community we will provide the full training, we'll provide lots of information."

Anyone interested should get in touch, but in the meantime, he encourages parents to take advantage of the free dental care available to under 18s and make sure to prioritise annual dentist visit.

*For information about the dental training programme email Dr Waghorn