Ashburton District Council stopped fluoridating the town’s water in 2002. In Aug/Sep 2006 Dr Martin Lee (Public Dentist, CDHB) and Dr Daniel Williams (Medical Officer of Health) advised council, and claimed in media statements, that this action had caused a 25% increase in child dental decay. That claim was challenged by Dr Hardy Limeback (Prof. of Dentistry and head of preventative dentistry at Univ. of Toronto) who, in a statement to The Guardian in Sep. 2006, claimed that fluoridation merely causes a delay in tooth eruption so that an initial perception of lowered decay in baby teeth is soon lost as the permanent teeth develop. In March ’14 Dr Justin Wall (local dentist) claimed in M.C. Herald that removal of fluoride had caused a 30% deterioration in oral health and also stated that fluoridation is of benefit to adults. But evidence capable of independent verification has not been forthcoming to me. To get clarity of evidence I have had to make formal request to CDHB under the Official Information Act.
I now present the CDHB’s own data in table format below. The factual data leads to the inescapable conclusions that I detail at the bottom of these tables.
1. Oral health of Ashburton children did not deteriorate after fluoridation ceased in 2002, as claimed by some who were in a position to know better.
2 Since cessation of fluoridation In Ashburton in 2002, the oral health of Ashburton children has improved, and significantly so for 12 year-olds.
3. Because the permanent teeth of Ashburton’s 12 year-olds have improved without fluoridation, Dr Justin Wall’s claim that fluoridation benefits adults lacks credibility.
4. Compared to Ashburton, a seeming benefit to Methven 5 year-olds is lost by age 12. This backs the claim by dental Prof. Hardy Limeback that fluoridation merely delays tooth eruption.
5. The permanent teeth of Ashburton 12 year-olds have never been subject to fluoridation and yet they have better oral health than their peers in fluoridated Methven.
DG Church CA, FInstD, FNZTA.
P.O. Box 23, Ashburton 7740
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