Dec 2009

Oral-B Survey Shows Recession Biting Dentists

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According to latest Oral-B research, the current economical downturn has impacted dentists hard with more than one third of Kiwi women saying they have put off a check up because of financial worries.


The recession has taken a bite out of dentist’s pockets with a new survey* showing more than a third (35%) of Kiwi women have postponed dental checkups because of financial worries.

The Oral-B Manual Toothbrush study investigated the oral health and spending habits of New Zealanders during the current economic downturn.

Thirty five percent of Kiwi women and 25% of men said they had postponed a visit to the dentist in the past year to save money*.

The survey results have the New Zealand Dental Association concerned, with its President Mark Goodhew saying Kiwis need to be aware they are putting their health at risk.

Goodhew says oral cancer is more common than cervical cancer with around 150 Kiwis diagnosed with the disease every year. Oral cancer can however, be detected early with regular dental check-ups.

“This is simply a false economy. Putting off regular dental checks can lead to gum disease, dental cavities and at worst oral cancer going untreated. All three of these things can be relatively easily fixed if they’re in their early stages.”

Goodhew says Kiwis rarely think twice about replacing car tyres but dental visits are a low priority for a lot of people.

“I personally recommend yearly dental visits at least once a year. Spending just $90-$120 once a year on a check-up could save you thousands in the long-term. A simple check-up might even save your life if you have something serious that’s picked up and can be treated.”


Goodhew says recent research points towards poor oral health potentially leading to other systemic issues. Gum disease is also possibly linked to heart disease, he says.

The news wasn’t all bad however with only 3% of parents saying they had postponed their child’s visit to a dentist*. Goodhew suggests this is probably due to the fact that children’s dental costs are largely Government funded.

Goodhew says it’s important for families to remember that a good oral hygiene routine starts with a regular dental visit and is maintained through flossing and brushing with a high quality toothbrush in between visits.

Oral-B spokesperson Alicia Gorken says the research was commissioned to better understand the financial barriers Kiwis faced when trying to achieve optimum oral health.

“The results suggest that the current economic climate has seen New Zealanders cut back on dental visits to save money. This means a strong in-home dental care regime continues to be an important factor in maintaining optimum oral health.”

The study coincides with the launch of the Oral-B range of manual toothbrushes which provide excellent oral care as well as being great value for money during the tougher economic times, she says.

The research also showed that tobacco companies’ profits are also being stubbed out of the weekly budget. A third of male smokers and nearly a quarter (23%)* of female smokers surveyed said they had cut back because of money worries.

Alcohol expenditure was also down with a third of Kiwi drinkers surveyed saying they had cut back due to financial concerns in the past year.

Similarly, takeaway outlets and restaurant profits are also being eaten at away with 50% of the male and female respondents saying they had saved money in this area*.

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Fleur Revell
Fleur Revell is one of the country’s most eminent PR consultants and public relations practitioners with more than 20 years industry experience behind her. Fleur is also a three times Qantas Media Awards winner and Feature Writer of the Year; and has an exceptional working knowledge of the New Zealand media landscape and its accelerating evolution in the digital age.
Oral-B Survey Shows Recession Biting Dentists
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