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Fluoridation increases tooth decay in the Wairarapa

Fluoridation increases tooth decay in the Wairarapa

The `New push for fluoride in water` by the District Health Board (Wairarapa Times-Age 6 November) `is as predictable as it is absurd`, says Mary Byrne, National Co-ordinator of the health activist group Fluoride Action Network, and newly resident in South Wairarapa.

`This is a classic case of statements being disproved by the very statistics they claim to rely on.`, she adds.

Wairarapa Oral Health Services clinical team leader Lynette Field said of 33 children who were referred to the mobile surgical bus [for major tooth extractions] since the beginning of the year, 45 per cent lived in areas without fluoridated water.

So this means 55% lived in a fluoridated area.

According to school dental statistics published by the Ministry of Health, 53% of 5 year olds drank unfluoridated water and 47% drank fluoridated water. So if only 45% of tooth extractions were for unfluoridated children (53% of the age group population) and 55% were for fluoridated children (only 47% of the age group population), the fluoridated children were 38% more likely to need an extraction for bad teeth.

Equally, the published average tooth decay figures for the Wairarapa confirm the higher risk for fluoridated children. The average decayed missing and filled teeth was 1.88 for fluoridated children but only 1.52 for unfluoridated children. So the fluoridated children were 24% worse off on that measure.

`This directly contradicts the statement by Oral Health Clinical Director Neil Stephen, who said ?Fluoride is not going to stop [the extractions] but reduce the number of times we have to do it.` As we see, fluoridation actually increases the need for extractions`, points out Ms Byrne.

It was shown 13 years ago that only high strength fluoride applications like toothpaste or lacquers put fluoride into tooth enamel. `Water fluoridation has repeatedly been shown to be ineffective at reducing tooth decay`, says Ms Byrne.

Last year New Plymouth District Council conducted one of the most comprehensive, and certainly the most up-to-date, review of fluoridation in NZ history. It ended fluoridation as a result.

Fluoridation has also recently been stopped in Taumaranui (2011) and Waipukurau (last month). After fluoridation ceased in Timaru in 1985, tooth decay continued to decline.

`Fluoridation is a dead horse. People like Neil Stephen and Lynette Field need to stop wasting taxpayer money by flogging it`, concludes Ms Byrne.


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