Colgate teams up with Plunket and the New Zealand Dental Association to alleviate New Zealand’s cavity count
Early childhood caries is one of the most common and costly diseases of childhood, according to the Report of the Health
Committee, and Colgate, Plunket and the New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) are working together to establish healthy
oral hygiene habits in Kiwi kids from a young age.
Colgate gives a toothbrush and toothpaste to every new Plunket baby at their five month visit, along with educational
resources for parents, in a bid to combat early childhood caries, also known as tooth decay or cavities.
Colgate Scientific Affairs Manager Rebecca Schipper says oral disease and its consequences, such as pain and
self-consciousness, can have a profound effect on a person’s quality of life and future ability to gain employment,
highlighting the importance of taking care of our children’s teeth.
“The proportion of children visiting a dental professional each year is lowest in the 2-4 year old age bracket, but
starting early with a fun, quick check up is a great way to prevent bigger problems,” she says.
“Oral disease is one of the most preventable chronic diseases in New Zealand. Visiting a dental professional and
brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste could dramatically decrease the prevalence of cavities in Kiwi kids.
“In communicating the importance of oral care to parents just before that first tooth breaks through, we believe we can
keep many more kids smiling.”
Plunket Clinical Advisor Allison Jamieson says, “We love being part of this initiative. Giving every new Plunket baby
their first toothbrush and toothpaste helps parents realise just how important it is to start brushing as soon as those
first teeth come through.
“The educational resources are really helpful, and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from families,” Jamieson says.
“The information, produced by Colgate and the NZDA, shows families how decay progresses, and how to spot signs of decay
in the mouth, on teeth and around the gum line.
“The resources demonstrate how to brush correctly, and also help us to show parents and children why we check their
teeth and gums, and what we’re looking for.”
The Report of the Health Committee also found worse oral health outcomes among children living in low socioeconomic
areas, which Colgate, Plunket and the NZDA are addressing by providing additional resources in areas of need.
“In areas of particular hardship, in addition to the toothpaste we can provide extra toothbrushes for the other children
in the family at a new baby’s five month Plunket visit,” says Schipper.
Colgate, Plunket and the NZDA have been in partnership since 2007, and have provided approximately 50,000 toothbrushes
and pastes to New Zealand infants each year since 2010.