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Bad teeth affect many areas of health experts say

A whole range of people employed to protect the public’s health are voicing concerns about what will happen if the quality of Hamilton’s teeth declines due to drinking non-fluoridated water.

In addition to the *93.5 per cent of New Zealand dentists who support community water fluoridation GPs, hospital doctors, nurses, specialists, surgeons, community and public health workers, and allied health staff are urging their patients to vote for fluoride being added to the water in their voting papers over the coming weeks.

They say that having infected, weak and decayed teeth can lead to all sorts of health problems – many of which people don’t realise.

Waikato Hospital cardiologist Dr Raewyn Fisher says: “The effects of poor dental and oral health can extend to heart problems in all age groups.

“The Waikato region still has a relatively high incidence of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease causing heart valve damage.

“These damaged heart valves are at further risk of infection which can result in serious illness (endocarditis) resulting in prolonged hospitalisation, often high-risk cardiac surgery, stroke and even death.

“The most common reason for valve infection is spread of infection from the mouth/teeth. We not infrequently see young patients present with life-threatening infection which could have been prevented by good dental health.”

Meanwhile, Waikato District Health Board’s Paediatrics team and Waikids Clinical Unit Leader Dr Dave Graham had the following to say: “It is now well known that poor oral health can result in other preventable chronic diseases.

“With a greater emphasis on prevention and non-invasive treatments in early childhood, the rate of dental issues and caries risk declines, helping to reduce the risk of developing a chronic disease later in life.

“While the onus is appropriately placed upon parents and caregivers to ensure children have healthy diets and dental habits conducive to good oral health, many children are not fortunate enough to experience these basic cares.”

For more information on the benefits of community water fluoridation, visit www.waikatodhb.health.nz/fluoride or www.fluoridefacts.govt.nz

* (Source: New Zealand Dental Association, 2013)

ENDS

General media enquiries
Mobile: 021 671 239
Email: news@waikatodhb.health.nz

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