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Hamilton Being Denied the Right to Healthy Teeth

Media Release

Date: 4 September 2013

Hamilton Being Denied the Right to Healthy Teeth

Thousands of Hamilton residents are being denied access to fluoridated water.

In June, Hamilton City councillors voted 7-1 in favour of removing fluoride from the town’s water supply.

“Community water fluoridation makes a huge difference in reducing cavities – especially in young children,” said Waikato District Health Board principal dental officer Rob Aitken.

“It’s unfortunate that those opposed to fluoridation are very vocal and it seems their relentless campaign of misinformation created enough doubt in the minds of our councillors that fluoride was removed from our water after 47 years.

“Thankfully, the rest of Hamilton now has a chance to stand up and make their voices heard to protect the health of their own and their children’s and grandchildren’s teeth.”

If fluoride is removed from the water long term in Hamilton, based on dental data Waikato DHB expects conservatively 2000 additional avoidable caries and fillings per year.

“A filling costs an individual about $130 – and that is one of the more affordable dental treatments. That is just out of reach for a lot of families,” said Waikato DHB medical officer of health Dr Felicity Dumble.

“Yet for 50 cents per person per year, we can fluoridate the water with no harm to anyone and at least provide base line protection for teeth.”

Dr Aitken said it was important that Hamilton residents armed themselves with sound and expert advice – namely from the Ministry of Health, New Zealand Dental Association, the National Fluoridation Service (not to be confused with the New Zealand Fluoridation Information Service) and Waikato District Health Board.

“There is too much misinformation flying around – particularly in cyber space – and I can understand that those that want to look into water fluoridation can find it confusing,” said Dr Aitken.

“My advice to those people is to take heed of the knowledge of reputable health organisations and their experts.”

Hamilton and New Zealand health officials overwhelmingly support community water fluoridation as a cost effective, safe and fair way to protect the community’s oral health.

For more information on community water fluoridation, visit www.waikatodhb.health.nz/fluoride


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