POOR diet, not a lack of fluoride in drinking water, caused childhood tooth decay, a public forum heard last night.
US emeritus Professor Paul Connett, from New York’s St Lawrence University, said the latest yet-to-be-published data from his country showed children from poor families had worse teeth than those from wealthy homes, regardless of whether their water was fluoridated.
Prof Connett, speaking at the public forum organised by consumer group Water Quality Australia, accused the Victorian Government of taking away residents’ democratic rights by forcing the chemical upon them.
“I would be tempted to say it belongs in a different century but I don’t believe it belongs in any century to use the public water supply to deliver medication,” he said.
“We have a situation where the State Government of Victoria is willing to do to everyone what an individual cannot do to anyone, and that is to force someone to take a medication.”
Scores of residents opposed to the State Government’s plan to fluoridate Geelong’s water attended the forum.
Most were not surprised to learn the US study Prof Connett quoted showed that children of wealthy families across the entire US had better teeth because they ate healthier food, drank less sugary drinks and their parents had the time to enforce good dental hygiene.
Former South Australian president of the Australian Dental Association Dr Andrew Harms also addressed the meeting.