More children visited dental therapists last year than during the previous one in the Wairarapa.
District Health Board records show 6638 children up to school Year 8 saw dental therapists in 2014 compared to 6460 children in 2013 and 7429 in 2012.
Data showed 3888 children visited dental therapists up to and including June this year.
DHB communications manager Jannel Fisher said the DHB aimed to have each enrolled child see a dental therapist every year. Children with more extensive examination or treatment needs or more at risk of getting further dental decay had more than one appointment in a calendar year.
In recent years the service had placed a strong focus on preventing dental decay rather than waiting for children to get holes in their teeth and then give them fillings, said Ms Fisher.
The percentage of 5-year-old children in the Wairarapa with tooth decay was less in 2014 than it was in 2009.
The service worked closely with parents and provided them with information and resources on good oral health and how to care for their child's teeth.
"We also see babies at three months to enable families to engage with our service early and to give them the education on how to prevent dental decay in their children's teeth from the time the teeth start coming through the gums," she said.
This year the World Health Organisation halved the daily maximum amount of sugar recommended to combat tooth decay, obesity and type two diabetes. The recommendation was now six teaspoons of sugar for an adult and just three for a child.
"By comparison, one can of soft drink contains three days' worth of sugar for a child."
Ms Fisher said the DHB recommended children drink water and that babies have breast milk or formula in their bottles.
Figures show the DHB spent $830,016 on dental services in the year to June 30, compared to $835,900 the previous year and $795,094 the year before that.
Nationwide, the Ministry of Health's latest health survey found 83.8 per cent of New Zealand children aged 1-14 years visited a dental practitioner in 2014. Basic oral health care is free until the age of 18.
The survey found Maori children were 1.6 times more likely to have had a tooth extracted than non-Maori.