Dental Association shocked at absence of funding in 'Wellbeing Budget'

The Dental Association is shocked to hear there won't be extra funding for oral health anytime soon.

Health Minister David Clark told Newshub not only is there nothing in this Thursday's Budget, there will most likely nothing this term.

"I'd say we are really disappointed if that is the case," association president Bill O'Connor told Newshub.

"We were expecting something in there to help the people out there that really need it in the community and our expectation was that there was going to be some funding available"   

While free care for all adults is estimated to cost $1 billion per year, O'Connor says even partial cover is better than nothing.

"Targeted, subsidised treatments for those that really can't afford it is what we're after."

O'Connor also pointed out one measure the Government could take that would immediately have a large impact on the oral health of New Zealanders.

"There are simple things that the government could do at virtually no cost... and one of them would be to get the Water Fluoridation Bill, which is currently stuck in Parliament, though."

Official survey figures reveal that almost half of Kiwi adults don't go to the dentist - 44 percent or 1.6 million people - many because they simply can't afford to.