Topic: Health

Freeing up dental care

By Taroi Black
  • Auckland

The New Zealand Medical Association is calling for a comprehensive and affordable dental service to be made available to all New Zealanders, however, one Māori dental specialists say Māori also need to understand how important it is to get their teeth checked. 

Dental decay is one of the most common problems among New Zealanders. In Dental Care West, their working with families for a cheaper option. 

Kerei Winitana Paki says,  "It can be a challenge for Māori to pay for a full dental check up but we've come up with a plan to help them pay it off weekly."

The New Zealand Medical Association wants better outcomes for New Zealanders and calling for affordable dental services. 

"We ask our clients how much they could pay. If they can't afford it than we'll put in a plan based on the situation and that can be weekly or fortnightly payments just to make it easier."

However, Kerei Winitana Paki says dental decay remains the most prevalent chronic and people need better assistance to understand the importance of getting your teeth checked. 

"To be honest it's not about the price. As long as the people are well educated which is something I find is lacking among Māori."

NZMA say that Māori and Pasifika have worse oral health outcomes as well as those living in areas of higher socioeconomic deprivation and an equity issue must be addressed.