REMOVAL OF fluoride from the Ashburton District’s water supply has resulted in a 30 per cent ‘‘ deterioration’’ in oral health, a Mid Canterbury dental surgeon claims.
Ashburton’s Justin Wall has been working in the district for 14 years and has seen first hand the effect that taking away fluoride has had throughout the community.
‘‘Dental health is deteriorating. There has been an increase in the rate of decay and an increase in the rate of decay in the teeth of people you wouldn’t expect.’’
The Ashburton District Council voted in 2002 that the water supply would no longer be fluoridated. The vote was tied six all, with Mayor Murray Anderson casting the deciding vote.
Mr Wall said the town was warned what would happen.
‘‘I said to them this is what is going to happen and the district council took no notice. They don’t care – they are more concerned about bridges.’’
Mr Wall says there has been a ‘‘preoccupation’’ with fluoride in children, which he calls ‘‘shallow and despicable’’ when really it is adults that benefit from fluoride supplementation the most.
‘‘It is a calculated campaign to divert the attention away from the group of people who really benefit from fluoride, and that is the adults in the community.
‘‘You have got to remember you are only a kid for about 16 to 18 years and if you are lucky you are going to be an adult for 82.’’
Mr Wall said the delivery of health is an ecosystem, and if one part of the ecosystem changes then the other part has to change to adapt with it.
‘‘If you have a deterioration in oral health of the people of the town, then what you are going to have is an increase in demand.
‘‘These people are going to have to wait longer and their oral health will deteriorate because of their inability to access services as frequently and as conveniently as they had in the past.’’
He said he has been open about the fact that he is a ‘‘major beneficiary’’ of the drop Do you think the Ashburton District Council should reconsider whether to fluoridate the water supply? Letters should be no longer than 200 words. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post to: Editor, Mid Canterbury Herald, Private Bag 4722, Christchurch 8140. in oral health. Mr Wall is not optimistic that council will change its mind on fluoridation of the district’s water supply any time soon.
Mayor Angus McKay said council was not looking ‘‘at this stage’’ to bring fluoride back into the water. He said he would have expected a 30 per cent decrease in oral health and even suggested a remedy of his own.
‘‘When I was very young my mother had us boys on fluoride tablets, so if people are concerned about it that is an option.’’