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A passionate Dunedin dentist has taken his knowledge overseas on a recent volunteer mission to Tonga.
Jacob Grieve, along with his three children and wife Justine, were part of a group of 30 Kiwis who went to Tonga in September to support medical needs.
Dr Grieve, lead dentist at Lumino Knox Dental and Lumino Pitt St, said although dentists in Tonga were trying their best to meet the needs of the people, there was room for improvement.
A dental initiative called ‘‘Mali Mali’’ was implemented in schools to encourage oral health 20 years ago and had caused improvement, but there was still a need for oral health messages to be boosted, he said.
Tonga had about 12 dentists compared with about 8000 in New Zealand.
Dr Grieve said he had big plans to do his bit to help dentistry in Tonga.
The island nation’s dentists had great dental chairs and equipment and, with training, could be a lot more successful, he said.
He planned to go back to Tonga with a group of dental practitioners to work on a prevention initiative in which he hoped to get schools to provide sealant treatments.
An even bigger goal was to raise funds for a mobile dental unit for the country.