Published Monday 3 Sep 2018

The Wellington branch of the New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) is committed to a water-only future for our schools and have generously sponsored water kits to 16 decile 1-6 schools in the Wellington region.

From Ministry of Education Bulletin for School Leaders He Pitopito KĊrero - Issue No. 94

The ‘Water in Schools’ working group led by Regional Public Health, with the Bee Healthy Regional Dental Service, Heart Foundation, Healthy Families Lower Hutt, Healthy Futures Trust, the Ministry of Education and the Wellington branch of the NZDA has been working for the last two years on ways to encourage schools to promote water as the choice of drink.

The first key initiative of the working group was the development and distribution of the Water-only Schools Toolkit, which provides practical advice to schools on how to become water only.

Schools identified that one barrier to providing water at school events was having the appropriate equipment available to make it practical and easy for schools to offer water.

Healthy Futures Trust has water kits that are available to purchase which provide everything a school needs to make water the drink of choice at their events.

Research has shown that children with oral health problems are more likely to have lower academic achievement and school attendance in addition to pain and infection, problems associated with orthodontics, speech, eating, nutrition, and overall health & wellbeing. Bee Healthy Regional Dental Service therapists have examined 2,151 five year old children, and 1,657 year 8 children in the Wellington region from 1 January 2018 to 1 June 2018. Overall approximately one third of both groups have dental decay that is untreated or has needed a filling or an extraction.

Five year old children

Ethnicity

Children examined

No decay

With decay

% with decay

Maori

380

181

199

52.37

Pacific

218

114

104

47.71

Other

1553

1164

389

25.05

Total

2151

1459

692

32.17

Year 8 children

Ethnicity

Children examined

No decay

With decay

% with decay

Maori

246

152

94

38.21

Pacific

156

78

78

50.00

Other

1255

940

315

25.10

Total

1657

1170

487

39.39

(Bee Healthy advise that this is only a snapshot of data for the specified period).

For further information:

Pictured: Water kits donated to Pomare School