Title of article: Health experts back fluoride across NSW in light of link between oral health and cardivascular disease
THE Heart Foundation is the latest health organisation to join The Daily Telegraph’s Stop the Rot campaign calling on the State Government to step in on the fluoridation issue, highlighting the link between oral health and cardiovascular disease.
Heart Foundation spokesman Dr Rob Grenfell said that while water management was a local council responsibility, when it came to health issues, the state needed to take over.
“We need the state government to step in and do this for the benefits of all, as opposed to placating the unfounded fears of a minority,” Dr Grenfell said in response to local councils in northern NSW voting to opt out of fluoridation.
Oral health and hygiene has been closely linked to cardio vascular disease, the leading cause of death in Australian. Heart disease kills one person every 10 minutes and is responsible for a third of all deaths. The cost of heart disease to the economy was estimated at over $14 billion yearly and good teeth played an important role in reducing the burden, Dr Grenfell said.
“Poor oral health leads to the loss of teeth and if you lose teeth you cannot eat a healthy diet. This is why it is so vital children start life with the best chance possible of maintaining their teeth in good health and that includes fluoridation,” Dr Grenfell said.
“If you have rotten teeth in your mouth and gum disease that puts bacteria into your bloodstream that can risk ill health and the heart if particularly prone to getting infections,” he said.
The American Centre for Disease Control has nominated the fluoridation of the water supply as one of the top 10 great health achievements of the last century – ranking it higher than the recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard.
A CSIRO report into the oral health of the elderly found that in 1979, over 60 per cent of the elderly had no teeth, by 1989, that had dropped to 44 per cent as fluoride, introduced in the 1950s took effect. By 2019, only 20 per cent are estimated to be without teeth.
The Federal Government’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Baggoley, said fluoridation was extremely cost effective when compared to savings on dental treatments.
For every dollar spent on fluoridating Australia’s water supply, up to $80 was saved in dental treatment costs, he said.
Professor Baggoley said a 2002 Victorian government report estimated that over the past 25 years fluoridation saved the Victorian community nearly $1 billion in avoided dental costs, lost productivity and saved leisure time.
He added that a “recent and thorough” analysis of fluoride in drinking water by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand found no evidence of any harmful effects and also approved fluoridated bottled water for retail sale.