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Dr John Giblin's take on the fluoride debate

ADA NSW member and dental surgeon Dr John Giblin's 'Letter to the Editor' was today published in the Oberon Review online:

Oberon Review Letter to the Editor
Dr John Giblin, Dental Surgeon

"I write to express my concern over the negativity of the debate surrounding the proposed introduction of fluoride into Oberon’s town water supply.

As a practising dentist of 42 years, having owned property in Oberon for 32 years, I am very concerned about the negative attitudes of some folk to this important public health measure.

The evidence is clear that community water fluoridation reduces tooth decay and does not cause any health problems.

Sadly, Oberon is lagging behind the vast majority of the state on this issue, and its people are missing out on the protection provided by fluoride, a naturally-occurring mineral.

I had the privilege of addressing a meeting at the Oberon RSL four years ago on this issue.

I left frustrated and dejected by the opposition of many attendees, who were uninformed of the benefits available for the entire community through water fluoridation.

Dentists in Bathurst usually know when they are treating an Oberon patient because of the markedly higher dental decay rate than in patients from areas with water fluoridation.

At times, children from the non-fluoridated Oberon area have to receive dental treatment under general anaesthesia – an expensive procedure that is not without its risks.

Fluoridation of the Oberon water supply will benefit people of all ages, both now and for generations to come. Importantly, it is our young people – babies and children – who will benefit the most from growing up with strong, healthy teeth.

Teeth are made of a mineral called hydroxyapatite. With fluoridation the mineral becomes fluorapatite, which makes the outer layer of the tooth, or enamel, markedly more resistant to the acids produced by oral bacteria, which cause dental decay and gum disease.

All of us produce these acids after consuming foods and drinks, especially those containing sugars.

Community water fluoridation began in the United States in the 1940s, after experts observed that populations with certain levels of naturally-occurring fluoride in their water had little or no tooth decay.

Since then, adjusting the levels of fluoride in community drinking water has greatly reduced dental decay in cities from Sydney to San Francisco.

It is interesting to note that by supporting fluoridation, as they have always done, dentists are actively trying to put themselves out of business!

Fluoridation of Oberon’s water supply would be a game changer. By voting for it, you have the opportunity to improve health outcomes in your community, particularly among those who tend to have the worst oral health – the young, the elderly, the disadvantaged and the disabled.

By voting for fluoridation, you have the opportunity to have a positive impact on people’s lives, both now and in the future.

You have the opportunity to make a difference, to keep Oberon progressive, to keep Oberon smiling. The choice is yours – please vote for fluoridation."

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