Pūkōwhai wai inu

Drinking water fluoridation

Is fluoride added to the water supply?

Yes, if you live in the Gisborne city and receive reticulated water.

The 2 rural water supplies at Te Karaka and Whatatutu are not fluoridated.

The dosage is 0.7-1.0 milligrams per litre as recommended by Ministry of Health (MoH). Should the MoH position on fluoridation of drinking water change, we would consult with the public.

The Ministry of Health is in strong support towards water fluoridation. Council is following the Ministry’s stance as being a safe, effective and affordable way to prevent and reduce tooth decay across the whole population.

Refer to Ministry of Health’s website

About water fluoridation

Water fluoridation is a very controversial topic.

There is an enormous amount of information available on both sides of the argument.

The effectiveness of water fluoridation has been documented in scientific literature for well over 50 years. Data from the 1930s and 1940s shows that even before fluoridation, children drinking naturally fluoridated water had lower decay rates than children consuming water without fluoride.

Studies have also shown that when communities stop fluoridation, there's a reversal of the benefits, an increase in decay rates and a large increase in the number of baby teeth extracted.

It's true that over the years, decay rates have declined in both fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas. This can largely be explained by the use of fluoride toothpaste and the cross-over effects of food and water containing products from fluoridated areas.

Most recent studies continue to show that the difference between fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas continues to be significant throughout life.

The World Health Organisation has reviewed the data available and the Public Health Commission in New Zealand published an extensive review of water fluoridation in 1994 and supports fluoridation.

In September 2000 the Ministry of Health released a report, written by Environmental Science and Research Ltd, evaluating recent evidence of the fluoridation of water supplies. This report provides further support for the safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation.

In 2003 the Public Health Advisory Committee also reviewed evidence of the effect of water fluoridation with respect to reducing inequalities in oral health. It strongly recommended increasing the proportion of the New Zealand population receiving fluoridated water.

Therefore unless there is a significant  "will to change"  the status quo should remain.