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Tooth decay rates higher in Maoris, Pacific Islanders

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (New Zealand), January - December 2012 (n = 11,598)
If, to paraphrase Don Quixote, every tooth in a person’s mouth is worth more than a diamond, then certain segments of the New Zealand population are in danger of losing their fortune, according to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research.

In New Zealand, some 23% of Maoris and 19% of Pacific Islanders have tooth decay, a higher rate than the national average (17%). New Zealanders aged between 35 and 49 also have a higher-than-average incidence (21%). Younger Kiwis (aged 24 and under) and people from Asian backgrounds tend to have the healthiest teeth.

Tooth decay among different segments of the New Zealand population

Tooth decay among different segments of the New Zealand population
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (New Zealand), January - December 2012 (n = 11,598).

Results also reveal that people from the lowest socio-economic quintile (FG) are likelier to have tooth decay than the rest of the population, with those from the highest quintile (AB) least likely.

Pip Elliott, General Manager, Roy Morgan Research NZ, says:

“These results come as no surprise: indeed, they reflect findings from the New Zealand Ministry of Health’s 2009 Oral Health Survey.

“There is a worrying trend towards higher rates of tooth decay among less financially secure segments of the population — people who might not be able to afford dental care. This situation is unlikely to improve unless the Government adds dentists to the public healthcare system for adults as well as children. (The fact that young New Zealanders have such a low incidence of tooth decay suggests that free dental care is a good way of enticing more people to the dentist.) 

“The findings also raise the question of tooth decay incidence in areas of water fluoridation versus those without, but this would need to be investigated further.”

Roy Morgan Research collects data on 248 health-related conditions in New Zealand, as well as New Zealanders’ alcohol and smoking behaviour. Click here to view our extensive range of Health & Wellbeing Profiles, including Illness and Conditions such as Mouth and teeth Profiles, Skin, Hair and Nail Profiles, Eyes and Vision Profiles and more. These profiles provide a broad understanding of the target audience, in terms of demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage in New Zealand.

For comments or further detail, please contact:

Pip Elliott
General Manager, Roy Morgan Research NZ
Email: Pip.Elliott@roymorgan.com
Telephone: (09) 912 7032 
Mobile: 021 444 506