Dentists add bite in pro-fluoride debate

IPSWICH residents’ teeth are already showing the positive benefits of having fluoride in the drinking water according to local dentists.

With the one year anniversary of the fluoridation just weeks away on December 1, Australian Dental Association Queensland Ipswich president Dr Louise McLoughlin said fluoride had already improved teeth in the region.

“Fluoridated water will strengthen teeth from the day it starts,” Dr McLoughlin said.

“The largest benefit will be for children who have grown up with fluoridated water, but adults also benefit from fluoridated water, even if their teeth have already fully erupted.

“Fluoridated water will begin to work immediately, but it will take a few years for a significant effect to be seen. But fluoridation is not a magic bullet.

“People should still brush and floss their teeth, maintain a healthy diet and see your dentist regularly.”

She said the full benefit of fluoridation would be more apparent when the first group of children in the fluoride generation were examined by the School Dental Service in around five years time.

Local dentist Dr Lesley Maclean said the introduction of fluoride brought Queensland and Ipswich back on track with other states, where some areas have had fluoridated water for up to 40 years.

“When someone comes into the practice with really good teeth, they are nearly always from interstate and have been drinking fluoridated water,” Dr Maclean said.

“As time goes on people here in Ipswich will have healthier teeth, and the introduction of fluoride will be seen as a great idea.”

The Mount Crosby water treatment plant was one of the first in the state to add fluoride to drinking water under a $35 million State Government plan to provide fluoridated water to the majority of Queenslanders by 2012.

However, the government was left red-faced when higher than usual levels of fluoride passed through the North Pine Water Treatment Plant for three hours on the morning of Friday, May 1.

Despite the mishap, Queensland Health’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the introduction of fluoride had been successful.

“This initiative is a vital element in Queensland’s oral health system, alongside oral hygiene and good nutrition. The benefits of fluoride will become evident quickly, and the real winners will be future generations,” Dr Young said.

“Fluoridation will address what has been an epidemic of tooth decay in Queensland, one of the most expensive challenges in our public health system. It will help to shift the focus from cure to prevention.”

Ipswich mother Angela Stevens said she was hopeful her two kids Olivia, 4, and Ben, 3, would benefit from the chemical additive.

“I’m not 100 per cent sure how it works, but if it helps their teeth it’s a good idea,” she said. 



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