OPEN WIDE: Remo Fanelli of Fanelli Dental with a patient. Dr Fanelli says the low dose provided by water fluoridation helps everyone.
OPEN WIDE: Remo Fanelli of Fanelli Dental with a patient. Dr Fanelli says the low dose provided by water fluoridation helps everyone. Luka Kauzlaric

Survey proves fluoride in water works: dentists

FLUORIDATION is the difference between a million dollar smile and a mouth full of fillings, Gladstone dentists say.

Veteran Gladstone dentist Dr Remo Fanelli said the release of Queensland Child Oral Health Survey 2010-2012 proved beyond doubt that fluoridation of water has meant less tooth decay.

He said children particularly benefited.

"Even though permanent teeth don't start coming through until they're about six, the teeth start mineralising and forming around birth," he said.

Dr Fanelli said the low dose provided by water fluoridation helped everyone, including people on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum who suffer from high decay rates.

Island Sands Dental dentist Dr Kylie Archer agreed that fluoridation was a good thing.

She said she saw the differences between Dalby and Oakey when she worked in southern Queensland.

"Dalby, which had fluoridation, had less caries, while Oakey didn't, and we spent months there," she said.

"Some adults who have come in have beautiful teeth, I ask them where they come from.

"It's always somewhere that has fluoride in the water."

Dr Priya Patel, a dentist at Dental Centre Gladstone, echoed the sentiments.

"From my experience there are less instances of decay in areas that is fluoridated compared to those that are non-fluoridated," she said.

Queensland Health's chief dental officer, Dr Mark Brown, said he hoped the report would encourage local councils which were not currently fluoridating their water supply to take the step in the best interests of their communities.

Fluoridation of Gladstone's drinking water supply is carried out according to the Queensland Government's requirements to 0.7mg/L.

Not everyone is a fan of additive

AN insidious substance that causes major health problems is how some Gladstone residents characterise fluoride.

Seventy-eight-year-old Dell Darrach says a mouthful of fluoridated water makes her sick.

She said she was highly allergic to fluoride and even ice cubes in her lemonade gave her diarrhoea and severe stomach pains.

"It all cleared up as soon as I stopped drinking the town water," she said.

Barbara Smith said she nearly committed suicide because of fluoride.

After undergoing surgery on her lip she suffered an unbearable burning pain, which she said only went away after she started using un-fluoridated water and toothpaste.

"My main concern about fluoridation in Gladstone is that it affects the health of people and animals," she said.

"It causes thyroid problems, and causes ADHD and other brain problems in children."

Jodi-Gayle Barnes said fluoride was a highly toxic substance. She said it was more toxic than lead, but slightly less toxic than arsenic.

The Australian Dental Association said systematic reviews conducted in Australia and overseas consistently report that scientific evidence does not support any association between water fluoridation and any adverse health effects.