Like a rotten tooth, the issue of fluoridating New Plymouth’s water supply has flared again.

The issue bared its fangs again this week when former New Plymouth district councillor and anti-fluoride campaigner Russell Gilmer had to remove posters put up illegally by the Fluoride Action Network New Zealand.

A story in yesterday’s Taranaki Daily News sparked heated debate in an online poll and attracted a variety of comments on the issue.

The Taranaki Daily News yesterday asked New Plymouth mayoralty candidates where they stood on the issue.

John McLeod said he wanted to see the chemical removed.

“I’m not in favour of fluoride in our water and I’ve been against it for quite a long time,” Mr McLeod said. “If you are getting water, it should be pure and there shouldn’t be any additives.”

John Rae said fluoride was a chemical and the issue needed to be looked at.

Mr Rae said his children, who have grown up with a fluoridated water supply, had far fewer fillings and required less dental work than he did.

He was keen to see expert advice sought before any action was taken.

Harry Duynhoven said fluoridation was not an issue he was passionate about “but my dentist is”.

“Let’s look at the evidence.”

Phil Quinney said it was an extremely complicated and emotive issue and experts from both sides would need to be consulted.

“Then we’ll make a decision with the information at hand,” Mr Quinney said.

“I look forward to all of the feedback – for and against.”

Kevin Moore supported open discussion with the best possible information. “It is all about getting the correct information and if you don’t have the correct information, how can you make a discission that’s going to give you a good result?” he said.

Pauline Lockett said it was important to hear from the community and experts before any decision was made.

Chantel Hewitt, who voted to retain fluoride in the district’s water supply during her last stint on council in the late 90s and early 2000s, said she would be delighted to be part of the review.

Maurice Betts said next year’s review would consider fresh information from both sides of the debate. “It will be very interesting next year,” Mr Betts said.

Doctor Greg Simmons, Taranaki medical officer of health, said fluoridation was a safe, proven way to reduce tooth decay. “Water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the natural level of fluoride in the water supply to the right levels in order to reduce decay.”

Dr Simmons was advocating for fluoride to be retained in the district’s water supply and extended where feasible.