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Poor oral health can result in deprived sleep, ongoing pain, possible hospital admission or many days off work. New Zealand has a very high level of sugar consumption. Sugary drinks should be eliminated completely but keep a healthy diet of fruit and vegetables as the natural sugars found in these foods are fine. A six-monthly or annual visit to the dentist, whilst expensive, can prevent more costly procedures further down the track.
Charlotte Metcalfe, Practice Manager at Project Dental Ltd, says that these check-ups and X- rays are vital for finding signs of tooth decay and gum disease. “The first signs of gum disease are bleeding, swollen or tender gums and bad breath. If these symptoms persist, even with regular brushing and flossing, see your dentist, oral health therapist or hygienist. Everyone has differing needs,” continues Charlotte, “so your dentist may recommend alternative time intervals between routine appointments.”
A new model
Dental clinics in seven cities and towns, including Dunedin, have joined a programme which provides a dental examination, X-rays and one hygiene treatment annually on a subscription-based payment model. It is believed to be a first for New Zealand and is designed to reduce the regional variation in costs to access oral care. Maykon Dias, spokesperson for EasyDental, says a key focus of the new programme will be on education and decay prevention and to support this, patients will have access to videos, tutorials and studies through their online dashboard. Dias says under the prevention package, patients pay a fixed monthly amount to access two to four preventative dental visits during a 12-month period, with an average cost of $1.35 per day. Businesses can also opt into the programme with a points-based contribution system, with every point accumulated by the employee equal to $1 which can be redeemed whenever needed. https://www.easydental.co.nz/
Whiter than white