20 August 2013

NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, today is visiting Ballina to meet with the City Council to discuss the benefits of fluoridation. This week the Council will vote on whether or not to go ahead with plans for the fluoridation of the town’s water supply.

Dr Chant said not proceeding with water fluoridation would deny generations of Ballina residents access to the most effective and socially equitable means of preventing tooth decay.

“I hope by having the opportunity to speak with Council I will be able to allay any concerns they have.

“There is no valid scientific or health evidence that appropriately managed fluoridation of drinking water supplies will cause negative health effects,” Dr Chant said.

Already approximately 96 per cent of the State’s population has access to fluoridated water and this is expected to increase to 98 per cent by 2015. Community water supplies in Sydney have been fluoridated for more than 50 years without adverse health impacts.

The most recent NSW Child Dental Health Survey, conducted in 2007, states children living on the NSW North Coast have the poorest oral health in the State.

The survey found that five and six year old children without access to fluoridated water had an average of 2.62 decayed, missing or filled teeth compared to 1.40 in children from fluoridated areas of NSW.

Fluoridation has been endorsed by numerous organisations, including the World Health Organization and the National Health and Medical Research Council. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has described fluoridation as one of the top ten public health achievements of the 20th Century.

The health risk of not adequately fluoridating drinking water is not limited to dental cavities. It also risks direct and indirect general health consequences of poor oral health including young children having to undergo general anaesthetics and older people having their quality of life and general health impacted from dental problems.

"I want to thank Council for making time to meet with me today prior to Thursday's meeting," Dr Chant said.

For further information on water fluoridation visit
http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/oralhealth/Pages/water-fluoridation-fact-sheet.aspx