Hamilton City Council’s decision to take fluoride out of the water supply means Kara Disher and her team at Frankton Community Dental Centre have taken on a bigger workload.
That’s because proactive parents are requesting topical fluoride application on their children’s teeth to make up for the lack of fluoride in the water.
Topical fluoride application is a treatment that has traditionally been given every six months to ‘high needs children’ but is now being asked for regularly.
Frankton Community Dental Centre services about 7500 children throughout Hamilton West.
Mrs Disher has been a dental therapist for 22 years, and has worked in Tasmania and the United Kingdom. She joined Waikato DHB 12 years ago meaning she has seen hundreds of thousands of teeth in her time in varying states of health.
Her view on community water fluoridation is simple: “Its [water fluoridation] worth is undeniable. It’s affordable. It works and makes a huge difference. I’ve seen it,” said Mrs Disher.
When working in Tasmania, Mrs Disher noticed the biggest difference as half of the island had access to fluoridated water and the other half didn’t.
“The children who drank non-fluoridated water had noticeably more dental caries than the children on the island that had fluoridated water.”
As well as asking for topical fluoride application, Mrs Disher said they had received a lot of queries about fluoride tablets.
“One mother told me she is putting fluoride tablets in the water bottles her children take to school.
“It’s fantastic that parents are using their initiative – but many don’t. And it’s those people’s children who will suffer. Besides, parents shouldn’t have to worry about adding fluoride to their water when it’s been in the city’s water supply for 47 years already and the evidence says it’s only been to our benefit.”
For more information about water fluoridation visit www.waikatodhb.health.nz/fluoride