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Christchurch takes wrong tack on teeth

Christchurch takes wrong tack on teeth

Christchurch authorities are pursuing the wrong dental demon, if they think fluoridating the water supply is the way to reduce dental decay, Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

"The major cause of dental cavities, especially among children, is poor dental hygiene and the consumption of excessive amounts of sugar in drinks and food," Ms Kedgley said.

"Instead of spending $3 million on fluoridating the Christchurch water supply, the Canterbury District Health Board should fund a public education campaign about dental hygiene; and about the link between high sugar food and drinks, and dental decay.

Ms Kedgley said there were still serious concerns about the effectiveness of fluoridation, about possible adverse health effects from long-term consumption of fluoride in water, and about the ethics of what was effectively a form of mass medication.

"The general trend in the world is against fluoridation," Ms Kedgley said. "Only three countries in Europe fluoridate their water supply.

"And the Swiss city of Basel recently stopped it because dental cavities in their city had been increasing despite fluoridation, and they could not find any study that proved the preventive effect of fluoridating drinking water.

"If the Christchurch authorities persist with this unproven policy, they should at the very least conduct a city-wide referendum. It should not be left to the Canterbury District Health Board and the Christchurch City Council to decide," Ms Kedgley said.

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