The benefits of fluoridation to dental health are indisputable and the Bega Valley Shire Council should start the process to fluoridate this area’s water supply forthwith.
Our children’s teeth, and those of our ageing population, have been deprived the benefits of fluoride for close on half a century putting this area among the most backward because of past councils’ resistance to this recognised tooth decay preventative measure.
It places this area in the 6 per cent of the state that does not have access to fluoridated public water supplies.
Water fluoridation has been the primary public oral health policy for the prevention of tooth decay in NSW for more than 50 years.
The previous councils’ reluctance to introduce fluoride to our water was based on the cost of the capital works and general health safety concerns despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
It has been a case of health discrimination at its worst – residents in Bega, Tathra and Kalaru have enjoyed the benefits of fluoridation for about 40 years while the remainder of the shire’s population have either had to seek fluoride from other sources or do without to the detriment of young teeth and parents’ budgets.
The fact that fluoridated drinking water is mandatory in other states shows how out of step with this oral health measure the State of NSW and the council have been.
The welcome change in council’s attitude has been driven by the fact that the NSW Government will now provide a 100 per cent subsidy for the necessary capital works.
The council has accepted the fact that there is no correlation between water fluoridation and any other disease.
And it acknowledges that water fluoridation will deliver significant savings in dental costs.
Given that the council is now convinced of the benefits of fluoridation, we agree with the comments made by the two dentists reported in the story ‘Dentists say yes to fluoride.’
They say that the council should just get on and do it. We couldn’t agree more and we believe the vast majority of the population would agree as well.
The consultation process is just a formality; the Director General of Health has the final say and he is unlikely to reject it when 94 per cent of the State’s population enjoys the benefits of fluoridated water.