The revelation that fluoridation levels in Wellington and Upper Hutt water supplies has been below, and often well below, “recommended” levels, yet tooth decay rates have been unaffected, confirms that water fluoridation does not reduce tooth decay.
Parents can be reassured that the drop in fluoridation levels has not caused their child to have tooth decay. The percentage of Wellington 5 year olds receiving “fluoridated” water who have no dental decay was the same in 2020 as it was in 2015 (around 70%). So the reduced levels made no difference whatsoever. Moreover, the percentage of unfluoridated children with no dental decay increased from 68% to 83% over the same time, outstripping the fluoridated children.
Parents who have had a child since 2015, can also be pleasantly surprised to learn that the low fluoride levels will have meant their child was not exposed to fluoride levels known to reduce IQ. The world’s premier pediatric journal (JAMA Pediatrics) published a government-funded study in 2019 Association Between Maternal Fluoride Exposure During Pregnancy and IQ Scores in Offspring which confirmed many other studies, that exposure to fluoridated water during pregnancy is linked to significantly lowered IQ for the developing child.
Most children have very good teeth but there is a section of our community that is still experiencing very high levels of dental decay rates. These levels are the same in both fluoridated and unfluoridated groups in 2016 (Wellington/Hutt Valley/Auckland).
New Plymouth stopped fluoridation in December 2011, yet tooth decay has continued to decline at the same rate as the still-fluoridated Hawera and Stratford.
This shows that a targeted approach is required, not mass medication. And we have such a proven approach – Childsmile and its equivalents. Even NZ experience shows 30% reduction in decay when children get supervised tooth brushing in schools or early detection and treatment (Northland and Canterbury trials).
Fluoride Free NZ can also report that fluoridation levels have been below the Government recommendations of 0.85 ppm in the Te Marua, Waterloo and Wainuiomata supplies since 2015. Official Information responses show that fluoride levels often averaged from 0.12 to 0.69 mg/l from 2015 to 2019.