DENTAL HEALTH STAND-OFF: Mandating fluoridation ruled out
QUEENSLAND'S Premier has ruled out mandating fluoride in council water supplies despite doctors raising concerns for the state's dental health.
The Australian Medical Association this week called for more than half a million dollars to be allocated in the upcoming State Budget to reinstate fluoridation in local governments which have removed it from their water supplies since 2013.
In that year state laws were amended to give councils the choice on providing the mineral in drinking water.
Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr Dilip Dhupelia said the adverse health impacts of this decision were now coming to light.
"Some of the largest regional centres in Queensland removed fluoride from their drinking water, including Cairns, Rockhampton and Bundaberg where dentists are now seeing extensive tooth decay among elderly people, resulting in the need for multiple extractions," he said.
Queensland Health oral health services data has revealed 43 per cent of children aged five to six years and 55 per cent of those aged five to 14 had experienced dental decay with the figure rising to 70 per cent for indigenous children.
The 2018 Report of the Queensland Chief Health Officer found children accounted for one quarter of all hospitalisations for dental conditions.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday ruled out making mandating fluoride in water supplies because she beli3eves the decision should be up to councils.
But she welcomed the AMA campaign.
"We know that having fluoride in water does help stop tooth decay," she said.
"I am in favour of the AMA going around and directly speaking to councils to put their case to the councils."
Fluoride was added to Gladstone's water supply in November 2009.
The decision to stop fluoridating Gladstone's water supply was made by Gladstone Regional Council in July 2016.
Cr Burnett, who voted against fluoridating water, told The Observer it should be a state issue.
"Fluoridation of the public water supply is a State health issue and, as such, should be legislated by the State Government, which should also meet all costs involved with implementing the process," he said.
"There is a cost involved if we add fluoride to our water supply and the state government should be borne with that cost."
Last year deputy mayor Chris Trevor attempted to convince council to take another vote to consider new research.
But when the options were presented to Gladstone Regional councillors at the November meeting it was voted down 6-2, with Cr Trevor and Cr PJ Sobhanian, a dentist by trade, the only councillors in favour.