Supporting good oral health for all

SmilingFaceChildCommunity and Public Health works with the South Canterbury District Health Board to support the Ministry of Health’s vision of good oral health for all, for life.

Establishing good oral health habits early gives benefits over a child’s whole lifetime. Tooth decay in primary/baby teeth is connected with tooth decay in permanent/adult teeth, which is linked with diabetes and heart disease.

The South Canterbury Child Nutrition and Oral Health Promoter works with the community to create environments that promote good oral health from an early age, including:

  • Supporting WAVE education settings to develop an environment that promotes good oral health
  • Providing one-on-one dietary and oral health advice to families of children under 5 years at high risk for developing tooth decay (dental caries)
  • Working alongside other services (e.g. Well Child Providers) to promote good oral health

Look after your teeth no matter your age

Good oral health means more than just having good teeth and a nice smile; it is critical for good health and well-being. Teeth are important for good nutrition, language development and self-esteem.

Key oral health messages for a healthy smile include:

  • Start brushing baby teeth as soon as they emerge
  • Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Spit out the toothpaste – don’t rinse your mouth with water
  • Floss regularly
  • Choose healthy, tooth friendly snacks
  • Drink water and low-fat milk
  • Limit sugary foods and drinks and have only at main meal times (and drink water or clean teeth afterwards)
  • Have regular dental check-ups – don’t wait for problems to develop.

Watch a video from the NZ Dental Association on how to brush your teeth.

Free dental care for under 18s

Free dental care is available to New Zealand children and teenagers until they turn 18. Call 0800 TALK TEETH (0800 825 583) to find out more.

The Community Dental Service provides free oral health services for all eligible children residing in the Canterbury and South Canterbury. Contact the Community Dental Service to enrol if you are new to Canterbury or South Canterbury (0800 846 983 or commdental[at]

The West Coast DHB provides free dental services for children and adolescents throughout the West Coast. Contact the West Coast School Dental Service for more information (03 769 7710 or 0800 825 583).



Download or order resources from the Community Health Information Centre.


For further information, contact:

Hacer Tekinkaya
Ph: +64 3 687 2621
Fax: +64 3 688 6091

Page last updated: 14/03/2017

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