PHARMACY manager Garry Franklin was bemused when he saw deputy mayor Paul Antonio encouraging the use of fluoride tablets this week – considering they are no longer being produced.
The head of the council’s water committee had no clue Colgate and Oral B had discontinued their lines when he suggested the product as an alternative to fluoridated water on Monday.
He was only informed on Tuesday that Colgate’s chief dental officer had recommended the supply be stopped on December 1 to avoid the risk of children developing dental fluorosis – a condition caused by a fluoride overdose.
The tablets have since been cleared from Toowoomba chemist shelves, according to Mr Franklin and several pharmacists contacted by The Chronicle yesterday. Cr Antonio said a “couple of country pharmacies” had limited supplies.
“I’m sure we could approach a pharmaceutical company who could supply tablets if the demand was there,” Cr Antonio said.
Toowoomba-based Australian Dental Association of Queensland councillor Rob Sivertsen met with Cr Antonio last night to discuss the difficulties of implementing and maintaining the fluoridation plants. Dr Sivertsen said a debate based around tablets was academic.
“They’re simply not available,” he said. “I would be disappointed if the council spends time tossing up possibilities before throwing its hands up.”
Mr Franklin, from Scott Street Pharmacy, said fluoride tablets had not been available since before Christmas.
“I would have thought the council would have checked it out before suggesting it as an option,” he said.
Deputy Premier Paul Lucas told The Chronicle yesterday said he would speak to the council about its concerns about the cost of maintaining the infrastructure needed to add fluoride to the water.
“I’m not prepared to have a situation where people on the Darling Downs have rotten teeth,” he said.
“The State Government has not received any formal correspondence from the Toowoomba Regional Council regarding its concerns and no other councils have applied for an exemption.”
Dr Sivertsen said children needed to be exposed to massive concentrations of fluoride before it damaged tooth enamel.