The New Zealand School and Community Oral Health Services Society (The Society) is calling for residents in the Kapiti Coast to submit against the proposal in the Council’s Draft Annual Plan to cease fluoridating the district’s water supply.

The Society’s spokesperson, Dr Neil Croucher, a senior public health dentist says “We strongly urge the Kapiti Coast District Council not to proceed with this proposal, and in its place affirm the continuation of the fluoridation of the water supplies of Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Raumati. We also urge the Kapiti Coast District Council to consider fluoridating Otaki and Paekakariki also, which currently are not fluoridated.

“If fluoride is removed from the water, children living within the Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Raumati reticulated water supply areas will experience an increased risk of tooth decay. For the sake of children’s oral health in the Kapiti District we implore people to make a submission to the Council against the proposal.”

People have until 5:00pm on Thursday, May 13 to put in their submission.

“It is in the interest of the community to maintain the supply of fluoridated water in these areas,” says Dr Neil Croucher. “It seems a travesty that Otaki and Paekakarikia residents have not been able to enjoy the same oral health benefits that come through water fluoridation than their neighbours have at Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Raumati.

“Water fluoridation is the single most effective, practical and safe means of reducing and controlling the prevalence and severity of dental decay in a community,” says Dr Croucher.

“Research shows the amount and severity of tooth decay experience in these communities will drop between 20% and 30%, especially in children and young people. The benefits of water fluoridation for the general adult population, especially other vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with special needs, should not be underestimated either.

“Fluoride strengthens baby and adult teeth before they come through the gums by building fluoride into their structure. The main effect, though, is when teeth erupt through the gums. Exposing teeth to small and safe levels of fluoride helps strengthen the tooth surface, and fluoridated water is the best way to achieve this,” says Dr Croucher.