Hear from trusted NZ health professionals and community leaders about community water fluoridation. They talk about the facts, the benefits and dispel some of the myths related to this critical health measure.
Title: Dr Riana Clarke, National Clinical Director of Oral Health, Ministry of Health, on fluoridation
Dr Riana Clarke: Although oral health has really improved for New Zealanders over the last number of decades, dental decay is still the most common chronic disease for New Zealanders.
Despite widespread use of fluoride toothpaste and having publicly provided dental services, we're still seeing high levels of dental decay in our populations.
By the time children are starting school, 1 in 7 of them have already suffered from severe decay.
Title: Dental decay is a serious problem
Dr Riana Clarke: Early childhood decay can cause extreme pain and the children who are suffering from early childhood decay, they can lose sleep, they may have to take time off school, some of them may even end up having to go to hospital and have a general anaesthetic to have dental treatment.
The results from the New Zealand Health Survey for the period 2014 to 2015 reported that an alarming number of children - 29,000 had one or more teeth removed in that time.
Title: It's Effective
Dr Riana Clarke: Community water fluoridation helps to protect our teeth over and above those other things we might do to protect our teeth.
For example, we may brush our teeth with fluoride toothpaste, we might reduce the sugar levels in our diet, and we may drink lots of water - but community water fluoridation will help strengthen our teeth over and above this.
there is a huge body of evidence, both internationally and here in New Zealand, that shows that water fluoridation significantly reduces decay levels for both adults and children.
In the most recent New Zealand Oral Health survey in 2009, the figures showed that for those living in a community with water fluoridation that children and adolescents experienced 40 percent less decay than those who lived in a non-fluoridated area.
Water fluoridation plays a role in protecting the teeth of the whole community and this has been recommended by the World Health Organization, our own Minister of Health here in New Zealand, and by many respected health organisations throughout the world.
Title: It's safe
Dr Riana Clarke: Based on international and New Zealand evidence, we can say that at the levels we add fluoride to the water here in New Zealand, there is absolutely no health risk.
Community Water Fluoridation. Effective. Safe. Affordable.
Watch more fluoridation expert videos on the Ministry of Health's YouTube channel.