Like it or hate it, the idea of fluoridated water will become a reality for Noosa residents by late 2010.
The debate over whether mandatory fluoride is healthy or harmful continues despite the state government’s decision to bring Queensland into line with its surrounding states.
The gradual process will see residents south of Maroochy River drinking fluoridated water by the end of this year, but other parts of the Sunshine Coast will wait it out for two years.
Retired lawyer Paul Prentice does not believe the outlined benefits for children are enough to warrant fluoride being forced upon the Queensland population.
Mr Prentice said he had read many studies exposing fluoride as a “cumulative toxin” that led to health problems.
Smile Workx dentist Alice Cumming said she saw benefits in fluoridated water for children when she owned a practice in Tweed Heads.
Dr Cumming maintains fluoridated water makes a substantial improvement on growing teeth.
“The benefit of fluoride if it’s taken into the body while the teeth are forming is that it alters the structure of enamel and makes it harder and resistant to decay,” Dr Cumming said.
Noosa naturopath Karen McElroy said fluoridation was a “simplistic answer to tooth decay” and failed to address diet and oral health as underlying issues to cavities.
Ms McElroy said sodium fluoride was a chemical with serious side effects that left large groups of the population at risk.
“There are many potential health hazards, particularly in pregnant women, infants, bottle-fed babies and those with kidney, gastrointestinal or thyroid disorders,” Ms McElroy said.
“When you add all these sub-groups of the population together, you arrive at a large percentage of the population that should not ingest fluoridated water.”