Fluoridating Levin’s water could improve the state of children’s teeth dramatically, but the decision rests on the shoulders of the Horowhenua District Council.
Mayor Brendan Duffy is not against the idea but would like to see MidCentral District Health’s figures.
“It’s not on our radar at the moment but we need to have the issue presented to us by the health officers so that we can understand the ins and outs and the opportunities that may be available.”
Fluoridating the water would have to be discussed in depth with the community, he said last night.
Cr Peter Keenan said the issue was raised “40 odd years ago” but the public rejected it.
He gave his children fluoride tablets but they lived in the country and had to use tank water.
Cr Garry Good also gave his children fluoride tablets as they lived in the country. But fluoride is only one part of the story, he said.
Diet is another factor impacting the state of local kids’ teeth and schools were doing a good job of combating this by providing healthy alternatives to junk food, he said.
A councillor would have to raise the issue and put it to the mayor who would officially open it up for debate, Cr David Allan said.
The call for Horowhenua to fluoridate its water came from MidCentral District Health Board hospital advisory committee member and pathologist Cynric Temple-Camp.
“I believe certain councils should be called to account for not fluoridating their water.
“That’s the best investment we could make in oral health care.”
The committee this week made the key decision to close school dental clinics throughout the district and put more mobiles on the road that would visit more schools and work longer hours.
Board member Barbara Robson, a former dental nurse, abstained from voting.
She said a concern about the new plan was that there would be no fixed-site dental clinics in either Horowhenua or Tararua, where dental health needs were greatest.
When the review of dental services began two years ago, the difference was evident.
Throughout the district, 54.78 per cent of children were starting school without any fillings. Horowhenua lagged at 35. 8 percent, and Tararua at 43.2 percent.
The 2006 figures for the district, and New Zealand, show children growing up without fluoride in the water start school with more fillings, decayed or missing teeth than those who have had fluoridated water.
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