Share A Grin is an initiative that will donate more than 100,000 toothbrushes to Bay of Planty School children as part of a push to address the high number of tamariki in the region with poor oral health.
Backing the programme is international sevens star Niall Williams who visited Gate Pa Primary School in Tauranga Moana recently, of which two of her daughters also attend.
“We want our kids to have big bright, shiny smiles when they grow and live a happy, healthy life and be confident with their smile,” says Williams.
According to the Ministry’s research, just 55% of the permanent teeth of Bay of Plenty school children are free of cavities, the third-lowest level in the country and lower than the national average of 66%.
The Bay of Plenty area also has the fourth-highest rate of children with decayed, missing or filled permanent teeth in the country.
Williams, who is also studying towards a qualification in social work, says it is important that basic oral healthcare is communicated to our children.
“Knowing the area I live in and the statistics around oral health, I know there is a problem. I grew up in a low decile area and school so I understand the hardships that come with that,” she says.