Cost the issue in fluoride battle

Local councils say cost is the issue when deciding against fluoridation.
Local councils say cost is the issue when deciding against fluoridation.

The Whitsunday Mayor has told newspapers that the decision not to fluoridate the region’s water supply was largely based on cost. Jenny Whitney says it was estimated it would cost about $300,000 per year to add the chemical to supplies in Bowen and Proserpine.

She says council has voted to continue work installing the necessary infrastructure at the two water treatment plants.

“We’ve got funding from government to install fluoridation, so we have to finish that to sign off on that funding allowance and it’s almost complete and then we would decommission it because council did not want to continue with fluoridation,” she said.

However, the Australian Dental Association Inc. (ADA) has already criticized the decision of local councils on public health grounds. “These Local Councils seem to be responding to fringe groups’ falsely based scare mongering and are not considering the scientifically well-established benefits of fluoridation,” ADA Federal President Dr Karin Alexander said recently.

“World Health Authorities, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Australian Dental Association and the Australian Medical Association, to name a few, all recognise the significant benefits that occur in dental health when fluoridation of water supplies occurs. Despite this, the State Governments’ capitulation to the irrational fears of a minority and failure to educate the public will only provide a temporary false sense of reassurance. The public’s health and the public purse will ultimately have to pay for this decision, when levels dental disease and dental decay starts to massively increase.”

Fluoridation is proven to reduce dental decay by making teeth less susceptible to the acids formed by micro-organisms living on and around the teeth. Fluoride can also assist in reversing the process of decay once it has commenced.

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  1. Perhaps the constituates of these same councils should be denied 50% access to public health dental care since that equals the decrease in dental caries in fluoridated areas in South Australia between 1969 and 2006? The increase in caries since is not the failure of fluoride, but the increase in sugar consumption with the bombardment of fast foods and drinks in our children’s lifestyles and the downgrading of dentally approved school canteens.

    When will the facts, fairness and economics of the benefits of public fluoridation be recognised? Do these same councils want to stop immunising our children too?

    Frustrated dental hygienist.


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