BRISBANE may reconsider its opposition to water fluoridation in a bid to reverse the alarming trend of rotten teeth, fillings and even cases of 18-month-old toddlers wearing dentures.
A working group of representatives of the state’s doctors, dentists, and pharmacists will meet Lord Mayor Campbell Newman and Deputy Mayor David Hinchliffe in a bid to convince them that the arguments against fluoridation are emotive, ignorant and without scientific credibility.
Fluoridation was last considered by the Brisbane City Council’s 1997 fluoridating taskforce set up under then lord mayor Jim Soorley, a passionate opponent of the practice.
The taskforce rejected the arguments for fluoridation advanced by the Australian Medical Association and Australian Dental Association.
Yesterday, one of the taskforce’s members, pediatrician John Pearn, said that taskforce had had a majority of anti-fluoridation exponents.
“To many on the committee it became obvious what the result was going to be by its constitution. By the way the membership was chosen, it transpired it was a foregone conclusion,” Professor Pearn said.
A major study of children’s dental records published by The Courier-Mail found the average five-year-old Queenslander had more than two decayed, missing or filled teeth – almost twice the national average.
Cr Hinchliffe said he was prepared to meet the working group and have the issue independently assessed again.
But Cr Newman said any move to add fluoride would need Civic Cabinet’s support, and that health groups would have to allay community concern.
“It’s up to medical and dental professional associations to make the case. In 1997 they had the opportunity to make their case and the results show they were not able to do that.”
AMA state president David Molloy said the claims of the anti-fluoride lobby had been exposed as lacking scientific credibility, including studies linking fluoridation to bone disorders such as osteoporosis.
Mr Soorley said it was “deceitful” to suggest that his 1997 fluoridating taskforce had been stacked with non-fluoridation advocates.
He said the report had been adopted unanimously.