RECENTLY there has been extensive coverage regarding water fluoridation in the Geelong media.
While it is important to discuss this program, it is also important that information presented to the community is factual and can be supported by credible scientific and medical evidence.
The addition of fluoride to drinking water is one of the great public health achievements of the 20th Century.
At optimal levels (1mg/litre, also known as 1 part per million), fluoride significantly reduces dental decay and is confirmed as safe and effective by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, the World Health Organisation and numerous other medical, scientific and research organisations.
With regard to kidney disease, Kidney Health Australia (KHA) recommends water as the fluid to satisfy thirst and states that no evidence exists that consumption of optimally fluoridated drinking water poses any documented health risk for people with chronic kidney disease, although only limited relevant studies are available.
Further, KHA has not called for the cessation of water fluoridation programs (http://www.kidney.org.au/HealthProfessionals/PositionStatements/tabid/725/Default.aspx)
In the case of dialysis it is important to note that this treatment has been successfully conducted in fluoridated towns and cities in Australia for decades.
All dialysis units have sophisticated filtration systems which deionise the water to remove all electrically charged particles, not just fluoride. This ensures the unit is able to filter the patients blood appropriately.
In relation to diabetes, Diabetes Australia is unaware of any evidence worldwide of a biological link between fluoridated water and insulin regulation.
Diabetes Australia recognises the increased risk of dental problems for people with diabetes and the importance of oral health and dental care as an integral part of diabetes management.
Diabetes Australia supports Healthy Mouths Health Lives: Australia’s National Oral Health Plan 2004-2013, which includes the goal of extending water fluoridation to communities across Australia, such as the Greater Geelong area.
The successful commencement of water fluoridation in the Greater Geelong area is a significant public health measure that will benefit the whole community in the years to come.