Fluoride Action Network

Whakatane loses golden opportunity: fluoridation

Source: Fuseworks Media | February 14th, 2016 | By Mary Byrne, National Coordinator, Fluoride Free New Zealand
Location: New Zealand

A shameful day it was, for those Whakatane District Councillors who voted to reverse the decision to stop fluoridation. The Council decision to support the District Health Board in starting a targeted dental health programme, based on the successful Scottish CHILDSMILE programme, was also reversed.

Non-fluoridated Scotland has cut the number of general anaesthetic surgeries needed by children for severe dental decay in half, saving 5 million pounds a year. Only two weeks before this shameful flip-flop, Whakatane Council had agreed to pledge the money currently used on adding toxic fluoridation chemicals to the drinking water, to the DHB to help them set up a scheme similar to CHILDSMILE.

Despite knowing and clearly acknowledging that fluoridation does not reduce dental decay, Cr Gerard Van Beek reversed his vote from the 28th of January to stop fluoridation, to keeping it. Correspondence from Cr Van Beek shows he understands that fluoridation does not reduce dental decay. Ultimately though, Cr Van Beek’s fear of election pressure caused him to cave in and vote against his better judgement.

“My concern is with the DHB, they need to deliver dental services better. Healthy teeth don’t need fluoride, mouths with good hygiene don’t need fluoride because there’s no dental decay. Even if there is dental decay, I’m not sure that fluoride fixes it,” he said.

Unfortunately for him, a person who apparently has the intelligence to understand the issue, he will more than likely deeply regret his flip-flop vote every time a new study comes out which shows fluoride’s harm to health and the environment.

The other councillors who voted for fluoridation did not even grasp the basics of the issue, such as the fact that the theory that fluoridation is based on has been thoroughly discredited, and is no longer touted even by fluoridation promoters. It was originally claimed that fluoride needed to be incorporated into the tooth enamel as teeth were growing to make them more resistant to decay. However, the US Centers for Disease Control published research in 1999 which showed this change to teeth did not make them more resistant to decay. Since then, all fluoride promoters around the world, including in New Zealand, have accepted that as the truth. To justify their continued refusal to admit fluoridation’s failure, the Ministry of Health and various Dental Associations now grasp at new straws – theories about needing to swallow fluoride so that it contacts the outside of the teeth. These new theories are not plausible or scientific

Fluoride Free New Zealand (FFNZ) provided the Council with Ministry of Health data that show children in fluoridated Whakatane have about the same average number of fillings as children in the rest of Bay of Plenty that is non-fluoridated. FFNZ also provided data from the DHB that show Whakatane children have more GA surgeries for severe dental decay than non fluoridated Tauaranga, non fluoridated Opotiki and a similar amount to non fluoridated Kawerau, one of the poorest communities in the country.

The Bay of Plenty DHB has refused to release data giving a breakdown on how severely children are affected by dental decay, even though every other DHB has provided this information and they have been ordered by the Ombudsman to release it. Obviously, the DHB does not want this information getting out, as it will no doubt put paid to their ridiculous claims that fluoridation helps poor children.

The Scottish CHILDSMILE programme provides supervised school tooth brushing, education for parents and children, and ensures regular dental check-ups. Whakatane councillors have thrown away this golden opportunity to really help children in their region and instead, the unfortunate Whakatane public will continue to be poisoned via the public water supply.