Waikato District Health Board medical officer of health Felicity Dumble says the high number of submissions calling for the abolition of fluoride don’t tell the whole story.
Dr Dumble, who is co-ordinating the board’s submission to the Hamilton City Council hearings, points to a 2006 web-based poll, telephone survey and referendum that revealed most of the community were happy for fluoridation to continue, as it had since 1966, with a minority opposed.
Several health professionals from the board would represent ”the vast majority of dentists and doctors who promote fluoridation”, she said.
”We hope the councillors will respect the opinion of these experts and look to the reliable and relevant evidence when making their decisions. We have not been lobbying or approaching the councillors prior to the tribunal as that would be inappropriate.”
The main points of the DHB’s presentation would include data gathered by the board that revealed there was substantially less less tooth decay among communities with fluoride and staff were not seeing any evidence of harm from drinking fluoridated water.
”All people with their natural teeth benefit, but that benefit is greater for those living in areas of deprivation and for Maori and Pacific [Islanders].”
The board’s submission included a comparison of tooth decay in children in Hamilton and Tokoroa – both fluoridated communities – and Cambridge, which is not fluoridated. Although Tokoroa is an area with higher levels of socio-economic deprivation than Cambridge, it has lower levels of tooth decay.
Fluoridation, in conjunction with good oral hygiene, regular dental checks and a good diet, was the best way to reduce tooth decay, she said.
”The DHB’s stance is consistent with that of the Ministry of Health … This is considered to be best practice.”