About oral health in children
Good oral health in children has major benefits as it prevents pain, infection and oral diseases such as dental caries (tooth decay). Children are at risk of dental caries as soon as their primary teeth ('baby teeth') begin to break through the gum at about the age of six months (Ministry of Health 2010). Tooth decay is the most common disease and is also one of the leading reasons for preventable hospital stays among children in New Zealand (Ministry of Health 2015).
Data for this indicator
This factsheet presents information on data collected for five-year-old children and children in school-year eight examined by community oral health services.
- The mean number of decayed, missing and filled primary teeth (dmft) for five-year-old children and the mean number of decayed, missing or filled permanent teeth (DMFT) for children in school-year eight.
- The percentage of caries-free children. That is, those who have no past or current experience of dental decay.
The total number of five-year-old children seen by oral health services declined by 19.2% (around 9,500 children) between 2000-2019, while the number of children in school-year eight seen rose by around 3,500. Each group was initially of roughly equal size at 49,000 and 47,000 children (respectively) in the year 2000. It is possible that the reduction in the number of five-year-olds could affect the apparent trends in their oral health over time.
For more data, visit the Ministry of Health 's oral health data and stats webpage.