THE Far North’s top dentist says the only controversy over fluoride is that it has not been introduced into the region’s water supply earlier.
Cairns’ water supply will be permanently fluoridated by December 31 after Cairns Regional Council began the chemical this week.
In response, water filter retailers have reported stock sell-outs as Far Northern residents rush to purchase water filters as Christmas presents before water supplies are permanently fluoridated.
Queensland Health Cairns district director of oral health Robyn Boase said the effect dental decay had on children was far more of a concern than the effect of fluoride on the human body.
“Fluoride has come up trumps in preventing dental decay and not causing any side effects,” Dr Boase said.
“It helps stabilise the mineral content of bones and teeth.
“I think people forget that dental decay is extremely toxic.
“We have a condition called early childhood caries. It’s the most frequent cause of hospitalisation in children up to age 4.
“People don’t get hospitalised from drinking fluoridated water. They get hospitalised from dental decay.”
Dr Boase, who has been living in Cairns for 20 years after living in South Australia, said the Far North’s rate of dental decay was “significantly higher” than other states.
Water fluoridation is endorsed by the World Health Organisation, the Australian Dental Association, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the Royal College of Physicians and the British Dental Association.
Anti-fluoridation campaigners are lobbying the State Government to terminate its enforced water fluoridation program on the grounds it is undemocratic.
Dr Boase said the economic impact of dental decay on Queensland outweighed any argument for a referendum on the issue.