The Western NSW Local Health District is encouraging Oberon Shire Council to consider the dental health benefits of fluoridation of the local water supply.
The NSW Ministry of Health is currently offering a 100% capital subsidy for works required to establish a local water fluoridation plant and Western NSW LHD is encouraging the council to progress water fluoridation to benefit the local community.
“Tooth decay is the most common health problem in Australia. Through water fluoridation we can reduce some of this burden,” said Jenni Floyd, Director Oral Health Services, Western NSW LHD.
“Water fluoridation is proven as effective in reducing the level of tooth decay across the community. It benefits all people who have at least some remaining teeth,” she said.
Ms Floyd said water fluoridation is not a substitute for good diet and regular tooth brushing, but it does assist in reducing dental disease, providing greater protection for teeth.
She said 96% of the NSW population already have access to fluoridated water.
“Most of NSW has been fluoridated for 50 years and Western NSW LHD dentists and dental therapists in Bathurst are encouraging the Oberon community to support the proposal to fluoridate the town water,” said Ms Floyd.
Ms Lea Hope, dental therapist and regular provider of dental services to children in Oberon said there is a clear difference in children’s teeth. She said: “I can often tell which children have lived in Oberon for many years and which children have recently moved to Oberon (from an area where the water is fluoridated). It is not fair to see children disadvantaged because they do not have fluoride in their water.”
Dr Priyanka Grover, who is a general dentist at Bathurst but also a specialist in Dental Public Health said: "Fluoride in optimum levels is safe, most affordable and an effective public health measure. It is effective in preventing tooth decay by 20-60 percent according to most studies. Also, there has also been reported association between the percentage of lifetime exposure to fluoridated drinking water and reduction in tooth decay. In simple words the tooth after the eruption in the mouth also benefits from drinking optimum fluoridated water through its life time in the mouth. It thus helps in keeping teeth for longer, which is an added benefit in addition to brushing with fluoridated tooth paste."
Dr Narayan Prasad, Senior Dental Officer at Bathurst said fluoridation coupled with other preventative measures will see a reduction in the number of young children from Oberon requiring dental treatment under general anaesthetic for extraction of multiple teeth. “This year alone I have seen 6 children, all under 8 years of age, who together need 15 fillings and 22 teeth removed. This is very sad to see in this day and age.”
Ms Floyd said water fluoridation has been rated as one of the Top 10 Public Health Measures of the 20th Century by the United States Centers for Disease Control.
In Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) support the fluoridation of drinking water and have concluded that it remains the most effective and socially equitable means of preventing tooth decay. The NH&MRC have recommended that water fluoridation should be extended throughout Australia.
Water fluoridation is also endorsed by the following Australian health and scientific authorities:
- Australian Dental Association
- Australian Medical Association
- Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
- Royal Australasian College of Physicians
- Australian Academy of Science
- Public Health Association of Australia
- Alzheimer's Australia
- Arthritis Australia
- Australian Cancer Council
- Osteoporosis Australia
- Diabetes Australia
- Kidney Health Australia
- All Australian state and territory Departments of Health
MEDIA: For more information please contact Ms Jenni Floyd on 02 6841 2343