The head of Dental Health Services in Canterbury is calling for a fluoridated water supply in the region.
Dr Martin Lee, the Canterbury clinical director of Community Dental Services, said a Ministry of Health report on oral health in New Zealand highlighted a growing need to fluoridate Canterbury’s drinking water.
The New Zealand Oral Health Survey, released last month by associate health minister Peter Dunne, showed children and adults living in non-fluoridated areas had worse oral health.
Those “fortunate enough to live in areas where their local councils fluoridate their water supplies” were better off than those who did not, Lee said.
“Each dollar saved by not fluoridating more water supplies has cost the District Health Board and the people of Canterbury about ten dollars worth of dental treatment – not to mention the life-long costs of poor oral health.”
Lee said the report would be a useful tool in improving the oral health of Cantabrians.
Decades of research showed water fluoridation was safe and effective, without changing the taste of the water, he said.
Canterbury’s only fluoridated supplies are at Methven and Burnham Military Camp.