Community water fluoridation is safe, effective and affordable, according to the Taranaki District Health Board.
The DHB confirmed its position on fluoride at its monthly meeting on Thursday, by adopting a formal statement.
Representatives will speak at the New Plymouth District Council long term annual plan submissions hearing on Wednesday afternoon next week about putting fluoride back in New Plymouth’s water.
The statement says the DHB endorses community water fluoridation as an important public health measure in the maintenance of oral health, the prevention of tooth decay and the reduction of health inequalities.
It supports the Ministry of Health’s position, recommending the fluoridation of drinking water supplies to provide further protection against dental decay (0.7 – 1.0 mg/L) and the board acknowledges that community water fluoridation is a safe, effective and affordable population-based strategy for the prevention of dental decay.
The board considers dental decay to be an important public health issue with “significant ethnic and socioeconomic health inequalities” in both oral health status and access to dental services.
In the board’s submission Medical Officer of Health Jonathan Jarman said a “large number of credible and reputable studies and systematic reviews” have concluded that community water fluoridation is an effective preventative measure against tooth decay that reaches everyone in society and is particularly beneficial to those most in need.
On average there is 40 per cent less tooth decay for children living in fluoridated according to the New Zealand Oral Health Survey 2009.
Stratford District Council had decided to retain fluoridation in their water supply and the South TaranakI District Council is waiting for a court of appeal decision on the issue which is expected later this year.