Fluoride Action Network

Nelson Marlborough DHB creates new role to promote water fluoridation

Source: NelsonMail | October 7th, 2015 | By Samantha Gee
Location: New Zealand

The district health board is on the lookout for a project manager to promote community water fluoridation in the Nelson Marlborough region.

The new role has been created within the team who work to improve oral health in the region, alongside principal dental officer Rob Beaglehole and oral health educators.

In August, the DHB confirmed its position on water fluoridation at its monthly meeting by adopting a formal statement.

Last year, the rate of tooth decay for Nelson Marlborough 5-year-olds attending dental services was 39 per cent.

It endorsed community water fluoridation as an important public health measure to maintain good oral health, the prevention of tooth decay and the reduction of health inequalities.

The oral health action plan includes the promotion of fluoridation of community water supplies and reducing sugary drink consumption and the new project manager will have a particular focus on fluoridation issues.

“The successful applicant will be motivated to improve oral health status. They will work alongside community groups and agencies, local authorities, media and health professionals. They will be aware of and work comfortably in an environment of polarised views on water fluoridation.”

They will work also with the Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council and Marlborough District Council on community consultation processes, establishing and supporting a steering and an operational group to work on the project and maintaining a focus on any national developments in relation to water fluoridation.

The 2009 New Zealand Oral Health Survey found there were significant differences in decay rates between fluoridated and non- fluoridated communities, with 40 per cent less tooth decay in children within areas where fluoride was added to the water supply.

During 2014, the rate of tooth decay amongst Nelson Marlborough 5-year-olds attending oral health services was 39 per cent.

This figure was higher for Maori children at 54 per cent, compared to 36 per cent for non-Maori children.