There is overwhelming expert medical support and evidence in favour of adding fluoride to drinking water, says Waikato District Health Board medical officer of health Felicity Dumble.
“It’s vital that people know the truth about the benefits of fluoride in drinking-water, particularly as various city and district councils seek community feedback for and against the issue,” she said.
The latest council to reconsider its decision is Thames-Coromandel. It sought community feedback by Monday January 14. Hearings will be held on Thursday January 24 in the council chambers in Thames.
Hamilton City Council will also seek community consultation on this issue later in the year.
“Fluoride in drinking-water at the correct monitored levels can do a lot of good without doing any harm. It really is that simple,” said Dr Dumble.
Waikato DHB recently established a webpage with strong evidence that fluoride in drinking water is a safe, effective and affordable way to reduce tooth decay.
The webpage (www.waikatodhb.health.nz/fluoride) answers common questions about fluoride in drinking water, summarises important facts in a short video by the Ministry of Health, and offers access to an information-rich presentation by Dr Dumble and principal dental officer Rob Aitken.
“There is overwhelming expert medical support in favour of drinking-water fluoridation and this webpage is one way for the public to see this,” said Dr Dumble.
She urged the public to use the webpage to remain informed about this issue.
Thames dental surgeon David Fornusek has made a submission to Thames Coromandel District Council.
In it he says he has been in practice in Thames since 1969.
“Those patients that have had the benefit of fluoridated water definitely overall have significant reduction in dental caries compared to those that have not. This is especially evident in young children, teenagers and the elderly –these are stages in life where for a variety of reasons dental caries is often more prevalent.
“I have seen no health issue trend that can be related to fluoridating the Thames
supply compared to those from non fluoridated areas. Many Thames residents have lived here for all or a large part of their lives. My practice is now treating the third generation of some families from both within and outside the fluoridated supply that started with me in the early seventies,” he said.
The annual cost of fluoridating the Thames water supply is $2300.
“I carry out about 100 treatments for young children under general anaesthetic each year at Thames Hospital. At a conservative total cost of $2000 per treatment the taxpayer is being billed $200,000 a year for these procedures so the answer is self evident,” said Dr Fornusek.
Other submissions are on www.waikatodhb.health.nz/fluoride
Recently Waikato District Council voted to extend drinking-water fluoridation to the Hopu Hopu and Te Kauwhata water supplies.
“These places will benefit from healthier teeth, fewer dental bills and less risk of painful toothache,” said Dr Dumble.
“Those who object to fluoride have ways to opt out without affecting the benefits that other people will receive. Their beliefs should not prevent the rest of the community benefiting from this safe, preventative option for healthier teeth.”
Numerous international, national and local health organisations support fluoridation. National organisations include the Royal Society of New Zealand, the New Zealand Ministry of Health, The New Zealand Children’s Commissioner, the New Zealand Medical Association, the New Zealand Cancer Society and the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society.
For accurate and up-to-date information about drinking-water fluoridation, visit www.waikatodhb.health.nz/fluoride