Members of the Australian Dental Association visit Gunnedah to brief Gunnedah Shire Council about adding fluoride to the water supply

FIGHT FOR DENTAL HEALTH: Dr Michael Jonas and Dr Sarah Raphael spoke at  fluoridation meetings in Gunnedah and Tamworth on behalf of dentists and the ADA NSW. Photo: Peter Hardin
FIGHT FOR DENTAL HEALTH: Dr Michael Jonas and Dr Sarah Raphael spoke at fluoridation meetings in Gunnedah and Tamworth on behalf of dentists and the ADA NSW. Photo: Peter Hardin

Gunnedah Shire Councillors attended a closed meeting on Wednesday to be briefed by members of the Australian Dental Association (ADA) NSW regarding water fluoridation.

ADA spokeswoman Dr Sarah Raphael, who hosted the briefing, shared with councillors and local dentists a report from the federal government’s National Health and Medical Research Council on water fluoridation.

Dr Raphael said water fluoridation has been researched in Australia for decades.

“Water fluoridation is one of the most widely-studied public health measures of all time,” Dr Raphael said.

“Decades of research in Australia have proven it is safe and effective in preventing tooth decay, water fluoridation gives everyone in the community protection from tooth decay on tap.”

The fluoride debate has prompted a wave of facebook groups against water fluoridation, including a group administrated by Gunnedah’s Wendy Carpenter called ‘It’s OK to say NO to fluoride in Gunnedah’s water’.

Mrs Carpenter said the group is designed to help bring balance to the discussion.

“There are a growing number of people in our community who are very concerned about the proposed fluoridation of Gunnedah’s water,” Mrs Carpenter said.

“We are very concerned that in the light of increasing evidence that ingesting fluoride in water is not safe nor is it the most effective method of tooth protection.”

Fluoride Action Network Australia (FANA) chair Merilyn Haines said the organisation has sent research and reports to council and hopes council will consider research from both sides of the debate.

“We hope that Councillors will consider these concerns because NSW Health will not be providing this type of information either to the Councillors, or to the public in the very one sided biased consultation that NSW Health is conducting,” Mrs Haynes said.

Gunnedah dentist Dr Karthikeyan Muthusamy supports water fluoridation and said adding fluoride to the water is “safe for everyone.”

“I strongly recommend fluoridation,” Dr Muthusamy said.

 “It comes from a solid basis of research and it saves people a lot of trouble in regards to dental health.”

The briefing follows a resolution from the October ordinary council meeting that stated NSW Health would seek public feedback regarding fluoridation and report the findings to council at Decembers ordinary council meeting. 

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