Peter Williams: Bad parents are responsible for bad teeth

Opinion 28/05/2019

By Peter Williams, Magic Mornings host.

On Monday we talked for three hours about teeth, about sugar and towards the end of the show about fluoride. 

Yes, we know that going to the dentist if you’re an adult is expensive, and that sugar is bad for you and that food and drink companies would cut back on the amount of it in the stuff we buy if the government told them to, or taxed them into doing so, and that fluoride, despite half a century or more of beating down the naysayers, is completely safe and extremely valuable in providing the community with better teeth. 

But we also found out that night - although the report didn’t specifically say so - that we have a class of parents in this country who frankly don’t deserve to be parents.

The number of children not being taken to dental clinics for free dental care is disgraceful.

National Correspondent Patrick Gower revealed on Newshub that 115,000 kids are behind in their check-ups - up 20,000 in a year, 40,000 children had to have teeth pulled out and that 7000 under the age of 12 had to have a general anesthetic to have teeth pulled. 

Yes, there may be an issue with finding the nearest provider and there may be an inconvenience in getting your child to the clinic or dentist.

But in the end, there is only one reason for all this, and that reason is slack parenting.

No ifs, buts or maybes. If you don’t take your kid, or arrange to take your kid to the free dental treatment the government has provided for generations, you are lazy, irresponsible and not fit to be a parent.

But who is going to do something about it?

Margaret Thatcher once said, “no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves, and then also to look after our neighbours.”

There is also another old saying… “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

The government and social agencies can only do so much to help the underprivileged and the unhealthy.

We are the ones first and foremost responsible for ourselves, and our children.

There is absolutely no excuse in this country for children to have bad teeth. They get them through bad parenting.

Peter Williams is host of Magic Mornings.