Taking fluoride out of Kapiti’s water supply could have a devastating effect on the district’s elderly residents, the Dental Association says.
The warning, by association Wellington secretary Graham Symes, was among the 136 submissions on fluoride received by Kapiti Coast District Council as it considers its draft annual plan.
About 70 submitters called for the council to continue using fluoride while about 50, including a 956-signature petition, strongly oppose “mass medication” of the water.
Dr Symes said withdrawing fluoride could badly affect Kapiti’s large retired population.
“A few years ago the elderly had all their teeth out, went into nursing homes with dentures and were pretty free of disease. People are now keeping their teeth and go into retirement homes with full sets,” Dr Symes said.
Many could not clean their teeth very well, he said. “They [the elderly] have shocking rates of decay. Taking fluoride out of the water will have a devastating effect.”
Though the focus had been on keeping decay rates down in children, the big epidemic was now in elderly patients on limited incomes who could not afford huge dental bills, he said.
Raumati resident Joan Sherley said fluoridation was a violation of human rights that put her and her family’s health at risk.
The Fluoride Action Group, which submitted the petition, said United States health authorities were advising against giving fluoridated tap water to babies as studies linked fluoride to lowered IQs and bone cancer.
Many opponents said that sodium fluoride, a by-product from the manufacture of aluminium, was a common ingredient in rat and cockroach poisons, anaesthetics, psychiatric drugs and military nerve gas.
The Maori Dental Association called for fluoridation to be extended to Otaki and Paekakariki water supplies and to continue using it in Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Raumati to reduce tooth decay in Maori.
The council asked for community comment on the matter after receiving pressure to stop using fluoride. The draft annual plan is due to be settled on June 24.