Free Dental Care for under 18 Year olds!

Did you know that free dental treatment is available for students starting year 9 until their 18th birthday, under the government funded scheme?

We have a full-time Oral Health Specialist, Melanie Mitchell, who specialises in adolescent dental care and hygiene treatments. Melanie is here Monday to Friday.

All you need to do when moving from year 8 to year 9 is to contact us to register. Don’t worry, we will sort out the paperwork!

Maybe you know someone that goes to another school, or is already working (& under 18), that lives on the island, they are welcome to have their dental treatment here too as there are no ‘zones’ as to where you can attend.

Waiheke Dental Centre has been offering this service for over 20 years and we pride ourselves on our proactive, preventative approach to adolescent oral health.

We also do free fast braces assessments for those of you who want to straighten out a few wayward pearly whites!

If you would like to know more about Fast Braces give us a call and we can book an assessment where Dr. Mike can walk you through the options and discuss whether Fastbraces are the right option for your child (or even yourself!).

Free Fast Braces Assessments

If you or someone you know is looking at getting their teeth straightened FastBraces is a great option, with most cases taking 3 months to a year to achieve an acceptable result it is much faster than traditional orthodontic braces which typically take 2 years or more.

Are you are interested but not completely sold? That is okay and understandable so why not give us a call to book in a free, no obligation FastBraces consultation where Dr. Mike can go over the options and tell you whether FastBraces is the right option for you.

For more information visit our Fastbraces page or visit the Fastbraces website itself.

We look forward to hearing from you and achieving your dental dental aesthetic aspirations!

Xylitol – what is it? What are the implications of its use for me?

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol (or polyol) that is used as an alternative to sugar. Xylitol is more commonly used than you think being found in honey, jam and chocolate as well as medications and oral care products. Xylitol also naturally occurs in small amounts in some fruits.

A general Health benefit of Xylitol is it has a lesser effect on blood sugar levels than sugar, due to its slow absorption rate. It can be useful as an alternative to reduce sugar consumption for people with diabetes as it does not raise blood glucose or insulin levels.

It has a reduced caloric value which can be helpful in weight control. One spoon of sugar contains 16 calories versus 10 calories from xylitol. It is however not recommended to consume more than 50 g xylitol per day, due to it reducing absorption leading to water retention and diarrhoea.

Benefits to Dentistry?

  • Xylitol is not metabolised by bacteria in the mouth and so it does not contribute to tooth decay.
  • It also helps remineralise tooth enamel.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates the flow of saliva through the chewing action; stimulated saliva helps to reduce acidity in the mouth by washing away plaque acids and contributes to their neutralisation by providing an important buffer, bicarbonate.
  • Stimulation of saliva flow through the use of sugar-free gum results in a 10–12-fold increase over a resting saliva rate, which helps wash away debris of food particles and sugars from the mouth and restores optimum pH levels in the mouth faster than without sugar-free gum.
  • Saliva also has an important role in the maintenance of tooth mineralisation as it provides the calcium and phosphate ions used to repair damaged enamel and it encourages the remineralisation of early cavities.
  • Chewing gum sweetened with xylitol also helps reduce oral Streptococcus mutanslevels, a key pathogen responsible for cavities.

Xylitol is a useful alternative to sugar but moderation in the quantity consumed is important. Sugar-free chewing gums using xylitol are a convenient, simple and effective means of improving dental health through the stimulation of saliva when used regularly throughout the day.

This article has been altered from Gardner, E. British Dental Journal, 2017 Aug, Vol.223(3), pp.141-141. DOI: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2017.650

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is an inexpensive and very effective foaming agent. Tests in the US indicate that it is safe for consumer use ( Bondi et al. 2015). The Australian government’s Department of Health and Ageing and its National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) have also determined SLS does not react with DNA. 

However if you would like to use a toothpaste that does not contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphate we have Oxyfresh Lemon-Mint Toothpaste (also fluoride free).

The other Oxyfresh toothpaste we stock does contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and fluoride with the addition of Zinc for infection control.

All Oxyfresh pastes, gels and rinses as well as our EPIC mouth rinse, gum and toothpaste contain Xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sugar derived from Birch Bark, which given its chemical structure is harder for bacteria to metabolize and thrive on, leading to a decrease in decay and gum/jawbone disease.

Bamboo Toothbrushes just landed!

Just landed! We are pleased to now stock Go Bamboo toothbrushes. This company, in Gisborne, was created as they were serious about keeping plastic off our coastlines, beaches and out of our oceans. When you’ve finished with your toothbrush you can put it to another use, like cleaning your bike or jewellery. When it’s really done its dash, shave the bristles off and recycle. The handle will break down eventually in compost. Go Bamboo Toothbrushes are perfect for the whole family. BPA-free and available in adult and child sizes …they also clean your teeth really well. Check out to find out more.

Tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs.  How do they affect oral health?

Tobacco can damage the gum tissues causing inflammation and periodontal disease (gum disease). Use of tobacco, ecstasy, amphetamines, and methamphetamines can also lead to tooth loss by constricting the small capillaries in the gums, affecting how the bone attaches to the soft tissue of teeth.

The use of alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy, amphetamines, methamphetamines, heroin and replacement therapies such as methadone limit saliva production causing dry mouth, the risk of tooth decay, gum disease and erosion.

Ecstasy raises body temperature, which can lead to an increase in the consumption of sugary drinks. Most alcoholic drinks are very sugary and acidic. Frequent consumption of these drinks will demineralise and weaken tooth enamel, which is the first step in tooth decay.

Tooth grinding and jaw clenching can occur with ecstasy, cocaine, amphetamine and methamphetamine use. Tooth grinding is known as bruxism and can lead to extreme wear, especially when combined with dry mouth. It can cause cracked and broken teeth and nerve damage.

Smoking cigarettes contributes to bad breath, the buildup of tartar on teeth and the staining of teeth, tongue and gums. Staining may appear yellow or black.

Excessive alcohol consumption and drug use can result in neglected oral hygiene self-care

Tobacco contains carcinogens, and is a major risk factor associated with oral cancer. Excessive consumption of alcohol significantly raises the risk of oral cancer, and when combined with smoking tobacco this risk is increased even more dramatically. Like tobacco, smoking marijuana also increases the risk of developing oral cancer.

Melanies Dental Hygiene Tips!

fullsizerender-1Hi my names Melanie Mitchell, I am a Oral Health Therapist working at Waiheke Dental Centre in Ostend. I am passionate about oral health education for all and believe that consistent preventative oral care can help you keep your teeth for life and facilitate good overall health.

Much preventative oral health care can be done at home at little cost…add to that routine dental hygiene and check-ups and you have a strategy that will save you money & help you prevent decay, gum disease and help facilitate good over-all health. In this monthly column I will be addressing all sorts of different oral health topics.

This week we will start with some basics:

Here are some strategies to keep a healthy mouth for a life time.

1. Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes, morning and before bed using either an electric toothbrush or a soft manual brush. research suggests that an electric toothbrush removes more plaque then a manual when used correctly.

2. Daily flossing before brushing – this helps remove bacterial plaque from between the teeth. if you hate flossing with tape, try inter-dental brushes, water flosses or floss on handles.

3. If using a mouth rinse, use an alcohol free one, as alcohol based rinses dry out your mouth. salt water rinses help keep your gums clean & healthy.

4. Stay away from sugary foods and drinks. when we eat or drink these sugars it mixes with bacteria in plaque and forms an acid. The acid attack begins the caries/decay process. however if you do drink the fizzy/juice use a straw. if you do eat sweet things brush your teeth directly after.

5. Avoid smoking. smoking and gum disease is linked.

6. Try brushing your teeth with baking soda once a week. it helps to keep your teeth white and alkalizes your mouth.

7. Brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper daily. one cause of bad breath is the buildup of bacteria on the tongue.

8. A diet full of vitamins, minerals, and fresh fruit and vegetable helps keep your mouth healthy.

9. Have routine dental examinations and hygiene treatments. Preventative care is the way to go…both for your health & your pocket!

Hygiene poster General Hygiene


Did You Know: Gum Disease Is Linked To OTHER Diseases

Let’s not jump into any scary overwhelming research, instead let’s re-jog the memory; Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease) begins as gingivitis which is the mildest form of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is often caused by poor oral hygiene and is most likely reversible with professional treatment and taking steps to look after your mouth.

 What diseases have been linked to Gum Disease?

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Premature births or low-birth weight babies

What causes Gum Disease?

The short answer is bacteria. These bacteria combined with mucus and other particles are continually form a colourless “plaque” on your teeth. Brushing and flossing twice a day helps to keep the plaque under control and with it the likelihood of gum disease. Plaque if not removed forms “tartar” which cannot be cleaned by simply brushing and flossing. Professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can however remove the tartar but it is best not to reach this stage!

 What are the symptoms of Gum Disease?

  • tender or bleeding gums (first sign of gum disease setting in!)
  • getting longer in tooth sign of bone loss (advanced stages of Gum disease)
  • Regular bad breath
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth

Any of these symptoms may be a sign of a serious problem, which should be checked by a dentist.

The problem with Gum disease is it is generally painless and is easy to go unnoticed! The good news is gum disease is easily treated and kept under control through regular visits to see the dental hygienist.

Below we can see the progression of damage caused by gum disease:

gum disease


How is Gum Disease treated?

The objective of treatment is to control the infection. The number and type of treatment will vary, depending on how advanced the gum disease has become. Any type of treatment requires that the patient keep up good daily care at home. The doctor may also suggest changing certain behaviours, such as quitting smoking, as a way to better improve the outcome of treatment.


How can I keep my teeth and gums healthy?

  • Brush and floss your teeth twice a day (with a fluoride toothpaste).
  • As an alternative to flossing you can use interdental brushes to get into those small gaps between teeth
  • Visit a hygienist routinely for a check-up and professional cleaning (6 month check and a 12 month active maintenance)
  • Don’t smoke (as hard as it is, it does improve the likelihood of not getting gum disease)

DENTISTRY IS EXPENSIVE! Well, it can get that way…

The patient asks, “How much to pull this tooth out?”

The dentist answers, “$300.”

Surprised, the patient asks, “$300 for just a few minutes work?”

The dentist replies, “Well, I can extract it very slowly if you’d like?”


Dental jokes aside, we get a lot of comments on how costly dentistry is in New Zealand. In order to avoid expensive dental treatments and emergencies, you need a strategy. That strategy is all about prevention, taking responsibility and taking great care of your teeth and gums. After all, the longer you leave an issue, the harder it is to solve.


There are some inexpensive ways to promote healthy teeth and gums, which we have listed below:


1) Rinse using warm salt water – This helps keep your gums healthy.

2) Brush once a week with baking soda – This helps keep your teeth white and alkalizes your mouth; when you have an acidic environment in your mouth, the acidity is likely to damage your teeth.

3) Use an electric toothbrush – They take up to 60% more plaque off than a manual toothbrush. Brush twice a day for two minutes each time.

4) Floss every day – Do this before brushing, so that your toothbrush can get into crevices that may have been blocked before!

5) Stay away from sugar and fizzy drinks – Drink water, it is much better for you and is especially easy to drink during summer! If you eat sugar, brush and rinse right after.

6) Don’t smoke – We understand this may be easier said than done, but it will positively impact your oral health!

Now, about the professional care…
  • Get all the active decay treated by your dentist. See your hygienist and get all the plaque cleaned off your teeth.
  • Then, start on a preventative care plan.
  • once a year see Melanie for a hygiene treatment to keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy. This takes 30 minutes and costs $120.00.
  • Once a year see Dr. Mike and Melanie in an Active Maintenance appointment. This clean and exam is to check for any new decay or issues. This takes one hour and costs $160.

Once you’re on this annual cycle, dental expenses become a lot easier to manage. Get any issues sorted before they get bigger or turn into an emergency!


What does Myofunctional technology look like?

About a month ago we posted some information on what Myofunctional Research Co. technology is.

We thought it might be nice for you to see what Myobraces look like, so here’s a couple of pictures of the pink and blue Myobraces, pretty cool for kids huh!

Myobraces Collage