New research is critical of how successive governments have funded dental care for the elderly, saying they are not getting the support they need.
Researchers from the AUT University questioned 19 people between the ages of 65 and 87. Their report was published in the New Zealand Medical Journal on Friday.
It says oral care for older people is missing out on funding because the Government is focused on subsidising general health.
However it says the elderly struggle to afford dental work, as many are on low incomes.
One of the authors, Lynne Giddings, says there is an established link between poor oral health and medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
The report challenges health professionals and says policy makers need to bridge the gap.