No teeth-pro­tect­ing flu­o­ride for Strath­bo­gie

Euroa Gazette - - NEWS - BY WILL MUR­RAY edi­tor@euroa-gazette.com.au

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.

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