FLUORIDE will be added to water supplies in Warrnambool, Allansford and Koroit from today.
The introduction has been welcomed by Warrnambool dentist Tony Davies who said fluoridation was a safe and effective measure of reducing tooth decay.
The move to fluoridate the water supply follows a mammoth effort by Warrnambool protesters over the past year to halt the works, including letter-writing campaigns, public rallies and a community referendum.
Dr Davies said a lot of research by reputable organisations throughout the world had shown fluoride was safe.
“There’s a lot of misinformation and scare tactics involved (by opponents),” Dr Davies said.
Although he has nominated for a seat on Warrnambool City Council at the November election, Dr Davies said he did not regard fluoridation as a local government issue.
“I’ve had a lot of people tell me, both patients and in the street, that they support fluoridation,” he said.
“I can honestly say that feedback generally has been positive.”
Dr Davies reassured residents that dental fluorosis, which creates discolouration and surface irregularities on teeth, could not be caused by drinking water treated by fluoride.
He said it was generally due to a child under the age of six years eating toothpaste and he warned parents to keep toothpaste out of reach of young children.
Children up to the age of 18 months should have their teeth cleaned without toothpaste, Dr Davies said.
Children aged between 18 months and six years should use a pea-sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste specifically designed for children.
Dr Davies said people in the newly fluoridated areas who had previously taken fluoride drops or tablets should now stop doing so.