The case to keep fluoride out of Tauranga’s water supplies has been strengthened by the Bay of Plenty District Health Board’s latest statistics on tooth decay in children, a leading city anti-fluoride campaigner says.
Ken Evans has obtained information from the board that compared 5-year-olds from fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities. It showed children living in non-fluoridated areas had better teeth in eight out of 10 years.
Whakatane and Ohope were the only towns to still have fluoride in their water supply in the coastal Bay of Plenty area covered by the board.
The survey showed that the percentage of 5-year-old children without cavities was higher in non-fluoridated areas than fluoridated areas for eight of the 10 years to 2011.
The result was not clear cut for Year 8 children aged 12 to 13. The percentage of filling-free children living in non-fluoridated areas was higher for five of the 10 years.
Mr Evans said the warnings from health authorities back in the early 1990s when Tauranga’s fluoride debate was raging had not happened.
The statistics showed that children in non-fluoridated areas had better teeth for 13 of the 20 sets of statistics.
The claims by the pro-fluoride people, including the Ministry of Health have proven to be without foundation, he said.
“In fact children’s teeth without fluoride in their water supply are as good as the fluoridated areas and in many cases better,” Mr Evans said.
There was a link between parenting and tooth decay. “Poor parenting produces poor teeth and fluoride won’t save them,” he said.
The Waikato/Bay of Plenty president of the New Zealand dental association John Twaddle said a national survey carried out in 2009 conclusively proved the health of people’s mouths was 20 per cent better in most age groups in fluoridated areas than non-fluoridated areas.
He said there were epidemics of decay in non-fluoridated towns such as Opotiki and Kawerau, whereas the health of children’s teeth had improved amazingly since he started dentistry in Whakatane, a few years after the town put fluoride in its water.
Tauranga dentist Graeme Lynan and member of the New Zealand Dental Council said dentists still supported fluoride in water supplies because of the way water washed over all teeth and was effective even with people who had poor dental hygiene.