No teeth-protecting fluoride for Strathbogie
LAST week the Gazette published a letter concerning the fact that while 90 per cent of Victoria has access to fluoridated water, most towns in the Shire of Strathbogie (except Avenel) do not have fluoride in the drinking water.
Following up on this letter, the Gazette has found that this is indeed the case, and that the Department of Health and Human Services, who direct local water authorities- in this case, Goulburn Valley Water- to add the substance to the water where they see fit.
Tooth decay occurs when acid corrodes the outer surface of the tooth. Mouth bacteria produce this acid from sugary food and drinks.
Fluoride is a naturally oc- curring compound that helps to strengthen the tooth’s mineral structure.
Fluoride repairs the tooth in the early stages of tooth decay before it becomes permanent.
The Victorian Government’s health services website points to research into the benefits of the fluoridation of drinking water.
Researchers from the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH) found that; ‘children of five and six years of age who have lived more than half their lives in fluoridated areas have 50 per cent less tooth decay in their baby teeth, compared to children who have not lived in fluoridated areas.’
‘ children who are twelve and thirteen years old who have lived more than half their lives in fluoridated areas have 38 per cent less tooth decay in their adult teeth.’
The information provided by the State Government also states that ‘dental examinations of 5505 adults from around Australia found significantly less decay in adults who drink fluoridated water.’
Yet the Department of Health and Human Services has determined that much of the Shire of Strathbogie would not receive the benefits of this tooth decay preventing compound.
The DHHS said that any decision to extend fluoride to the remaining 10 per cent of the Victorian population would be based on a number of factors.
“The Department of Health and Human Services oversees a number of oral health initiatives including water fluoridation,” a spokesman for the DHHS said.
“In relation to extending water fluoridation across Victoria, the department applies a range of criteria.
“These include funding allocations, population size serviced by the drinking water supply system, rates of preventable hospital admis- sions for tooth decay and the feasibility to build and operate a fluoridation plant within the existing water supply system.”
Without the assistance of fluoridated water, residents of the Shire of Strathbogie are encouraged to ensure they brush regularly, and avoid too many sugary foods and drinks that might increase the risk of tooth decay.
HEALTH CONCERNS: The Shire of Strathbogie, except Avenel, is part of the 10 per cent of Victoria that does not have fluoride in the drinking water.