Wairoa population: 8680
Waipukurau population: 4610
Waipawa population: 2250
These ratios are nonsensical - particularly the topmost.
Despite its population the northern Hawke's Bay town of Wairoa hasn't had a dentist for adults in nearly two years.
One inference is the settlement has the best oral hygiene in Hawke's Bay. No decay, no demand, no supply?
Sadly, that's not the case.
Aching locals have been forced to travel to Gisborne or Napier for appointments - and even then enduring long delays - after chronic infection.
Some have reportedly resorted to self-dentistry.
There is a community dental centre by the high school for under 18s, but nothing for everyone else.
If you're 18 or above, lay off the sugar.
Queen St Practice (the only GP practice in Wairoa) said it gets up to five calls a day from people complaining about toothache.
By New Zealand standards, this is third-world. By anyone's standards, it's a yawning gap in basic healthcare.
Last year The Dental Association commented on the wider issue of dentists dodging small towns, claiming many wouldn't want to work in such rural areas as there was a possibility they couldn't fill a 40-hour week.
Surely the numbers, as per the above comparison with Central Hawke's Bay, indicate there'd be ample volume.
Either way, it's time for the Government to step up and increase funding, or at least incentivise a local position.
In January 2020 the Government announced it would invest Provincial Growth Fund monies of up to $6.1 million to "revitalise business and tourism opportunities in Wairoa".
Some of this went to niche business, which is great, but you'd have to think there were more basic needs to shore up.
How it got to this point is outright undignified and disgraceful.
The gap isn't a quirk - it's a massive failing. Not least of the symptoms is the lack of stimulus for professionals and, in their absence, out-of-towners moving to the district, to live there.
Sure, Wairoa suffers from a serious identity problem - plenty of which it doesn't deserve.
It's burdened by the same malaise as many of its rural contemporaries, whereby much of its service-town design, form and function, is vestigial.
But its identity crisis is for local government and district leaders to address.
Meanwhile the horror dental stories will continue from this pretty northern riverside town that deserves better.