A mouthful of money

By Chloe Johnson

Peter Wood says his dental costs could send his dentist to Florida. Photo / Rhys Palmer
Peter Wood says his dental costs could send his dentist to Florida. Photo / Rhys Palmer

Peter Wood spends so much money fixing his teeth he reckons he probably pays for his dentist's annual holiday.

The retired primary school teacher grew up in Auckland in the 1950s, several years before fluoridation was introduced to the city.

He learned about fluoridated water when he moved to Thames about 35 years ago with his wife and three children.

Wood, 76, compares his unhealthy teeth to those of his children who were given fluoride tablets - and to those he taught, whose homes had a fluoridated water supply.

"They certainly don't have the monument to dental engineering that I have because I was pre-fluoride," Wood says.

Although he brushes and flosses his teeth daily he requires significant dental treatment about once a year.

He says the amount of work done on his teeth, mainly for decay, must total at least $65,000 over his lifetime.

"It all adds up - I told my dentist I was sending him to Florida for a holiday."

Wood lives in a rural area, where he does not have access to the town's fluoridated water supply. But, he has been actively involved in this year's community consultation to ensure it remains in the water.

"When you've been a teacher you can't help worry," he said. "It is appalling if you don't care about what is happening in the community."

- Herald on Sunday

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