Tooth decay rising in New Zealand children

Thousands of children are being sent to hospital with advanced decay in their mouths despite New Zealand offering free dental care to children from birth to 17 years of age.

"It's not due to any problems around dental care, more around the fact that we're not managing to prevent dental disease," said paediatric dentist Dr Katie Ayers.

Three's The Project spoke to Dr Scott Waghorn, founder of Dental Care West about what can be done to help lower the figure.

Dr Waghorn was in favour of a controversial sugar tax, saying that while these things can be controversial and people may not appreciate the Government stepping in something needs to be done to save Kiwi kids' teeth.

As for parents, Dr Waghorn has advice about how to ensure children make good habits for tooth hygiene.

"Persistence as a parent is just so critical; you've just got to keep doing it."

Watch the video for the full The Project interview.