Dentists support change to fluoridation

November 18, 2016 at 10:21 AM


The New Zealand Dental Association supports the Government's move to transfer decision-making about water fluoridation from local councils to district health boards.

"The decision to fluoridate is a health decision - DHBs are in the best position to make this important public health decision," says NZDA CEO Dr David Crum.

"DHBs have the necessary medical expertise to make decisions about whether to fluoridate or not. DHBs will be able to take into account local health priorities and local oral-health-related statistics."

At present, councils have the power to keep, add or remove fluoride from the water supply.

In April, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne announced proposed legislative changes to transfer decision-making powers to DHBs.

Coleman said New Zealand has high rates of preventable tooth decay and that increasing access to fluoridated water could mean fewer costly trips to the dentist for more Kiwis.

On average, young people aged under 18 who live in areas with water fluoridation will have a 40 per cent lower lifetime incidence of tooth decay.