Whanganui District Health Board’s new head of dental services says he is concerned by the high level of oral disease in Wanganui, and urged residents to use fluoride toothpaste.
Robin Whyman was recently appointed Wanganui’s dental services clinical director. Based in Hawke’s Bay, where he is the Hawke’s Bay DHB’s dental services clinical director, Dr Whyman will spend two days a fortnight in Wanganui.
Dr Whyman is a leader in New Zealand dentistry, having held the position of chief dental officer for the Ministry of Health from 2005-09. He is a ministerial appointment on the New Zealand Dental Council, a councillor for the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons, and an executive member for the New Zealand Oral Health Clinical Leadership Network.
While he will mostly focus on treating children, Dr Whyman will also treat Wanganui adults, particularly those with disabilities and complex health problems.
He said he was very concerned by the number of people of all ages who had serious dental issues resulting from decay not addressed when it should have been.
“The high levels of decay found in the teeth of children is a huge challenge for the WDHB’s Dental Service. It’s very disappointing, given that dental care in New Zealand is free for children up to age 18.
“As a strong supporter of fluoridation, I’m delighted that the South Taranaki District Council has voted in favour of fluoridation for Patea and Waverley. I’m sure this will have an impact on the teeth of some people we treat here in Wanganui.”
Dr Whyman noted that Wanganui doesn’t have fluoride in its water and recommended people here take extra good care of their teeth. “I would encourage people to buy regular strength fluoride toothpaste and make sure they and their families use it at least twice a day.”