GUNNEDAH locals are still divided about adding fluoride to the local water supply, according to a new poll.
The Fairfax Media poll was conducted in the wake of council’s decision on October 18 to allow the NSW Department of Health to conduct public consultation on the issue in Gunnedah.
Out of 308 votes cast, 59.8 per cent of votes were against fluoride being added to the shire’s water supply, while 35.95 per cent of voters were in favour of the water treatment.
It was resolved at the meeting that NSW Health would consult with the community and canvas opinion regarding adding fluoride to the water supply.
Council will hear the results of the public consultation at the December council meeting before making a final decision at February’s council meeting.
Gunnedah Dental Centre’s Dr Mary Jane Bateman said fluoridation was not based on new research.
“I was trained in Sydney and we were taught by Noel Martin who brought this research to Australia in the 1960’s and 70’s,” Dr Bateman said.
“There’s nothing modern about this research, the benefits of fluoride have long been established.”
Dr Bateman said it is young children that benefit most from fluoridation.
“It gives kids a solid start to lifelong strong teeth,” she said.
“Fluoridation along with a healthy diet low on foods with sugar and rich in calcium will give kids the dental support they will need.
“If fluoride is not added to the water supply, it is the youngest generation that will suffer.”
If fluoride is not added to the water supply, it is the youngest generation that will suffer.Dr Mary Jane Bateman
The Gunnedah dentist said there are options for people against fluoridation.
“My suggestion to people that are against fluoridation would be to get a water filter to filter it out if you are against it,” she said.
“I will say those who are against it don’t see the after effects surgery and things like that have on young kids.”
Dr Bateman also said adding fluoride to the water would help ease the burden of dental health.
“It’s an unnecessary burden on the health system and the people who are suffering from dental health issues,” she said.
“Fluoridation will solve 90 per cent of the population’s dental problems.”
Gunnedah Shire Mayor Jamie Chaffey said council was eager to see the findings from NSW Health.
“We are eagerly awaiting the results from NSW Health regarding public feedback,” Cr Chaffey said.
“So far the small representation of feedback I have received has been positive in terms of water fluoridation.”
Cr Chaffey said information sheets had already been sent out to ratepayers.
“The fact sheets have been sent out by NSW Health and that process is on track.”