Teeth cleaning: What you need to know
A week after a New Zealand man died from tooth decay after having a toothbrush fitted, the country’s health minister has urged caution in tooth care after a report of an outbreak in New Zealand.
Dr Mark Butler said the country had not seen an outbreak of tooth decay in over 20 years.
“We are at the very beginning of this epidemic and it is very, very concerning that it is not happening in other parts of the world, especially in the developing world, where we have seen the first signs of it,” he told the ABC.
In a statement, the Health Minister said that the government would be making recommendations to the New Zealand Health Minister on how best to tackle the problem.
Mr Butler said it was a national emergency.
“While we have had no cases of tooth infection, we have received a number of reports of tooth abscesses in New Zealands homes,” he said.
“There are concerns that the virus may be spread from person to person.”
This virus is also transmitted by direct contact with the saliva of a person who has contracted it.
“It is also possible that saliva from other people who are also infected with the virus could contaminate people who have not been vaccinated against the virus.”
The country has seen more than a million cases of coronavirus in recent weeks, with many cases attributed to a high number of dental visits.
Dr Butler said he hoped New Zealand would continue to be on top of the pandemic.
“I would urge all of our people to be vigilant in their daily activities.
I would urge people to avoid any contact with surfaces that have had contact with saliva and any contact that has touched a tooth,” he added.
The government has promised to provide $400 million to tackle tooth decay, but Mr Butler said more needed to be done.
“As a country, we need to make sure we do what we can to get to a level of hygiene where we can reduce the transmission of the virus,” he advised.
“But the most important thing is to make people’s teeth clean.”