Questions and Claims from the MOH Fluoride Facts website followed by the correct answers below.


Q. How much difference does having the fluoride in water topped up make?


MOH Claim: A lot. The most recent NZ study shows on average 40% less tooth decay for children in fluoridated areas compared to those areas without it New Zealand Oral Health Survey, Ministry of Health, 2009. Many other studies have shown that children and adults living in areas with community water fluoridation have significantly lower tooth decay than people living in areas without it.


Fluoride Free NZ answer

There is no difference in tooth decay when topping up fluoride in the shared water supply. For a discussion on the weaknesses of the New Zealand Oral Health Survey, Ministry of Health, 2009. A local example of tooth decay not increasing without fluoridated water comes from recently released information from Ashburton. Ashburton stopped fluoridation in 2002. Figures obtained from the Canterbury District Health Board show that since 2002 decay rates have continued to decline with children in both age groups (12 year olds and 5 year olds) having less DMFT (decayed, missing or filled teeth) and more of the children being caries free (without any dental decay). See this Open Letter from long time Fluoride Free campaigner Don Church.



Q. What would happen if we removed community water fluoridation?

MOH Claim: Communities could expect higher levels of tooth decay – particularly for children and people who are disadvantaged. This means more visits to the dentist or dental therapist, more fillings, tooth removals, dentures, discomfort and for some – suffering. It costs only approximately 50 cents per person per year for community water fluoridation, compare this to a single dental filling costing $130. Removing fluoridation would impact individuals and significantly increase our healthcare costs.


Fluoride Free NZ answer

The reason that the cost to fluoridate is so low is because the fluoride chemical used to fluoridate is not pharmaceutical grade fluoride like what is in toothpaste. The fluoride chemical used is mostly Hydrofluorosilicic Acid and comes from the wet scrubbers of the fertiliser industry. Fluoride Free NZ advocates strong tooth brushing education programmes to combat tooth decay. The local example being the Waikato District Health Board’s own tooth brushing programme. The International example being the Scotland ‘Smile’ tooth brushing programme. Fluoride Free NZ believes that Fluoridation creates a false sense of security in the fight against tooth decay.


Q. How do we know if it’s safe?

MOH Claim: Fluoride already exists in water. It is topped up to levels that provide a benefit to teeth.

‘It is absolutely clear that at doses used in New Zealand to adjust the natural level to one that is consistent with beneficial effects (0.7–1.0mg/litre), there is no risk from fluoride in the water’

Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor, Office of the Prime Minister’s Science Advisory Committee.

‘There has been much research over many decades indicating that fluoridation is a safe and effective measure for reducing dental caries’

Professor Sir David Skegg, President of the Royal Society of New Zealand.


The Ministry of Health has established the National Fluoridation Information Service.

Claims by opponents of community fluoridation that it leads to cancers, bone fractures and other serious conditions are not supported by evidence. Often evidence quoted by opponents has been derived from studies where the levels of naturally occurring fluoride levels are so high that fluoride levels need to be reduced, such as some parts of China and the USA.


Fluoride Free NZ

Fluoridation is not safe.

Read the critique of the National Fluoridation Information Service.

Read the Critique of the NZ Review of Fluoridation Scientific and Critical Analysis of the 2014 New Zealand Fluoridation Report


Q. Are there any known side effects to community water fluoridation?

MOH Claim: Fluoride, in water or through other means such as tablets can result in a slight mottling of enamel.

‘One side effect of fluoride is for a portion of the population it causes minimal white mottling of the enamel… This is very rarely discernible and is definitely not the severe fluorosis that is so often pictured on websites of those opposed to fluoridation of the public water supply’

Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor, Office of the Prime Minister’s Science Advisory Committee

The Ministry of Health’s New Zealand Oral Health Survey 2009 notes, ‘no significant differences in the prevalence of fluorosis…between people living in fluoridated areas and those in non fluoridated areas’.


Fluoride Free NZ answer

See the critique of the New Zealand Oral Health Survey 2009.

Read the Critique of the NZ Review of Fluoridation Scientific and Critical Analysis of the 2014 New Zealand Fluoridation Report. See Dr Paul Connett’s abbreviated critique.

Read the notable studies to learn about the harmful affects of fluoridation.


Q. If people brushed their teeth would it mean we don’t need water fluoridation?

MOH Claim: Keeping your teeth healthy also requires brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, dental care and reducing sugar. Community water fluoridation provides additional benefits even if you do all these things. Over half of New Zealand adults avoid going to the dentist because of cost, and over half of New Zealand children don’t brush their teeth twice a day with the recommended strength fluoride toothpaste. That’s why water fluoridation is so important – it makes basic care for your teeth accessible to all.


Fluoride Free NZ answer.

Keeping your teeth healthy requires brushing twice a day (minimum) with or without fluoride toothpaste (WARNING: DO NOT SWALLOW FLUORIDE TOOTH PASTE) dental care and reducing sugar. Community water fluoridation provides no additional benefits. The focus needs to be on educating not fluoridating the population. Promoting fluoridation violates an individual’s right to choose. Poor dental health is mainly the result of poor dental habits. Only education can overcome this. Read Fluoride Free NZ’s explanation on the tooth decay solution.


Q. If it’s so good for you why do people oppose it?

MOH Claim: There are different reasons why people oppose water fluoridation. These may include health concerns, not being aware of the benefits and wanting individual choice.


Fluoride Free NZ answer

People oppose fluoridation because it doesn’t work, it’s not safe and it robs individuals of choice. Learn who is behind Fluoride Free NZ and read testimonials of New Zealanders that want to end fluoridation as soon as possible.

The MOH and DHB are being forced to defend an obsolete practice. Read the Timeline of the NZ Review.


Q. What do other countries do?

The World Health Organization recommends boosting fluoride to optimum levels and community water fluoridation as the best method to do this. Community water fluoridation in Australia and the USA has expanded. In some countries in Europe, due to the practicalities in adding fluoride to the water supply, alternative methods are used to boost fluoride to optimal health levels such as adding fluoride to salt or milk.


Fluoride Free NZ answer

New Zealand is one of the minority of countries in New Zealand to fluoridate. 97% of Europe does not fluoridate their local communities shared water supply. Community water fluoridation in Australia and the USA is being consistently challenged as to it’s efficacy, safety and loss of individual liberty as a result. Read the statements from European Countries that have ended fluoridation.