Oral health refers to the health of our teeth and mouth. Good oral health is critical to the good health and wellbeing of children and adults. However tooth decay remains the most common long-term and preventable disease in New Zealand.

Poor oral health can affect people both physically and psychologically. Oral diseases, including tooth decay, are a common cause of pain which may result in absences from school and work. Poor oral health may influence how people look, speak, chew, taste food, and affects self esteem and confidence.

Most oral disease is preventable but the cost of dental treatment is expensive and unaffordable for up to half of all adults. In children, tooth decay is a leading cause of avoidable admissions to hospital for surgery to remove teeth.

Ways to improve and maintain good oral health are:

  • Brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Avoid sugary drinks and choose food low in sugar
  • Drink fluoridated water
  • Have regular dental check ups
  • Be smokefree.

Toi Te Ora Public Health works to improve oral health in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes region through the following ways:

  • Promotion of community water fluoridation, including provision of information and advice for the public, District Health Boards and councils.  
    - Water Fluoridation and Fluoride Toothpastes and Tablets
  • Assessing results of monitoring of fluoride levels at water treatment plants.
    - Drinking Water
  • Development of policy and strategies to limit the consumption of sugary drinks and sugary food.  
    - Sugary Drinks
  • Collaboration with Te Whatu Ora oral health promoters and other oral health service providers in schools and early childhood education centres. 
    - Building Blocks for Under 5s
  • Engagement with District Health Board oral health strategic groups.
  • Promotion of smokefree lifestyles and promotion of breast feeding.  
    - Smokefree
    - Breastfeeding
  • Oral health resources (available from the Resource Library).

For information about dental services in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes regions:

For further oral health research and information: