Media release - 14 February 2017

Baby CJ’s smile off to a good start

Colgate, Plunket and the NZDA reach over 500,000 Kiwi babies in decade-long partnership

Seven month old CJ Ringrose may not yet have his first tooth, but West Auckland Mum Vicky Ringrose is all set on how to care for his precious baby teeth thanks to a Colgate partnership with Plunket in association with the New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) that has touched over 500,000 Kiwi babies over the last decade.

Colgate has worked with Plunket and the NZDA since 2007 to provide over one million free toothbrushes and toothpastes to Kiwi kids, along with educational resources and information on how to care for teeth.

Every new Plunket baby receives a paste and brush at their five-month visit, with Plunket seeing 98% of New Zealand children.

From February 2017, Colgate will also extend the programme to include the Plunket B4 School Check, meaning children will receive an additional free paste and brush at four years old to help reinforce the importance of brushing and good oral health.

Mum Vicky Ringrose says it’s great that Colgate and Plunket help families learn to care for their children’s teeth.

Top Tips for caring for kids' teeth1
  • Brush twice a day, especially after eating breakfast and before bedtime
  • Choose healthy food and drinks
  • Limit sweet and sticky snacks and avoid sugary drinks - water is best
  • Have a regular dental check up - it's free for all kids 17 and under
  • Some kids don't like brushing their teeth. Brush gently, and make it fun by singing a song or playing a game
  • Once teeth are close together, help kids to floss each day
  • Use a flouride toothpaste
  • Lift the lip every month to check for signs of decay

“It’s great that you get the paste and brush early so as soon as he has a tooth you can get onto it straight away.”

“Looking after CJ’s teeth is important to me because I want him to have self-confidence, and a beautiful smile will help give him that. That’s all a Mum can hope for really!”

She adds: “I will be really proud if I can get him to 18 years old with no fillings.”

Karen Magrath, National Clinical Advisor at Plunket says the Colgate products are always well received by parents and the NZDA-Colgate flipchart is a handy reference guide when talking to parents about how to care for children’s teeth.

“It’s such an important time to support parents with building really good oral health routines. It is also a great opportunity to discuss the importance of a healthy diet so that when baby is ready, parents are too.” “Thanks to Colgate, we can also provide extra toothbrushes and pastes to families that need them in high deprivation areas.”

NZDA CEO Dr David Crum says it’s important for parents to start brushing with fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush as soon as the baby teeth come through and create a good brushing habit.

“Childhood tooth decay is one of the most common diseases of childhood and can destroy teeth completely. It can cause chronic pain, infection and seriously impact quality of life at a time when kids should be enjoying a healthy childhood,” says Dr Crum. Colgate Dentist Dr Rebecca Schipper says parents often underestimate the importance of caring for baby teeth.

“Around 29,000 children in New Zealand had teeth extracted in the past year due to childhood tooth decay, and we’re talking about a problem that is largely preventable.”2

Childhood tooth decay can also lead to dental problems later on, says Dr Schipper.

“The good news is that these problems are easily prevented by regular brushing and flossing and avoiding sugary foods and drinks.”

Colgate has also delivered the Bright Smiles, Bright Futures programme for the last 20 years, an oral health care education programme provided free of charge to primary schools.

New Zealanders can also help support Plunket just by doing their grocery shopping this month. Colgate will be running promotions across Countdown, New World and The Warehouse stores.

Source: 1. Top tips for caring for kids teeth. Healthy Smiles (NZDA Website) & Caring for your children’s teeth (MOH Website).
Source: 2. Ministry of Health. 2016. Annual Update of Key Results 2015/16: New Zealand Health. Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

For more information:
Jessamy Malcolm Cowper
Account Director
Professional Public Relations
Tel: 0272 752 834 

About Colgate New Zealand

Colgate is proud to contribute to New Zealand and support Kiwi kids through providing free oral health care products and education programmes. Colgate donates a Colgate Sparkling Mint Toothpaste 110g & Colgate My First Toothbrush to every Plunket baby at the five-month visit (reaching 98% of New Zealand children), and a Colgate Sparkling Mint Toothpaste 110g & Colgate Youth 5+ Years Toothbrush at the B4 School check. The toothpaste supplied complies with the recommendation from the Ministry of Health and the NZDA. Colgate also delivers the Bright Smiles, Bright Futures education kits for primary schools and has also supported the New Zealand Children’s Athletics Association Colgate Games for the last 39 years.  

Over 500,000 Kiwi babies and children benefit from dental partnership



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