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Supports for central government responsibility for fluoride

Lumino in support of central government responsibility for fluoridation

Some of New Zealand’s most experienced dentists have spoken out in favour of putting the decision-making power for water fluoridation in the hands of the Director of General Health, rather than local authorities.

Their stance backs up the call from local council delegates at the recent Local Government New Zealand conference in Nelson in July 2014.

The Clinical Advisory Board (Board) of New Zealand’s largest private dental network, Lumino The Dentists, says that dentists from around the group’s 80 practices are continually having to correct patient’s perceptions about fluoridation in water supplies.

The Board has criticised the anti-fluoridation lobby for its vocal influence amongst lay people outside the dental industry, and particularly, City Councillors.

“Anti-fluoridation lobbyists often quote research with little regard for context, validity or subsequent reviews that have discounted this questionable research. It is easy to hear emotive, highly political views from the vocal minority and be swayed into thinking this is scientific gospel.

“Our preference is that those skilled in science and public health policy be the arbiters of public health strategies for New Zealanders, not lay people with limited understanding of scientific reporting. We would prefer that these decisions be made at central government level.

“The effect of water fluoridation is a public health benefit, at little cost, with quality of life advantages that cross all demographics.”

In addition, the Board believes that costs incurred by councils having to hold referendums and defend their water fluoridation decisions could be money better spent on direct initiatives aimed at improving oral health in local communities.

“The anti-fluoridation lobby would be better spending their energy on targeting other products that go into people’s mouths daily. We encourage the anti-fluoridation lobby to take a walk around the corridors of any DHB Hospital in NZ to see the impact of sugar - harmful to teeth, human health and life expectancy.”

Lumino The Dentists is the largest employer of dentists with 80 practices throughout NZ. The company recently held its second annual Lumino Day in partnership with KidsCan - an initiative led by clinicians in the group to provide free care for parents and caregivers of Kids Can families. Feedback from the day showed that, anecdotally, there was less advanced decay in fluoridated locations, and the Board believes ‘fluoridation has played a part, without question, in mitigating dental disease in these families. Without it, we are confident that we would have seen more serious decay and unnecessary pain and suffering.’

The National Fluoridation Information Service (NFIS) is funded by the MOH to constantly review literature relating to fluoridation, and is a reliable source of information on fluoride.

NFIS website: http://www.rph.org.nz/content/14350004-1cf6-45ad-a32d-d35311bfe2fc.html

MOH website: http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/preventative-health-wellness/fluoridation

ENDS


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