Fluoride plans praised by health board chief

6:17 am on 13 February 2016

Whakatane District Council's plans to look at introducing fluoride into water in smaller towns could make a huge difference, the district health board's chief executive says.

A close-up of a glass of drinking water, on a blue background

Photo: 123RF

Bay of Plenty District Health Board chief executive Helen Mason said she was delighted fluoride had been reinstated in Whakatane and Ohope's water systems.

Residents were without the chemical for about ten days after the Whakatane District Council voted to remove it, before making a u-turn on Thursday to have it reintroduced.

Fluoride was very important because poor oral health could have serious flow-on effects, Ms Mason said.

But it couldn't be the only measure used, she said.

The board has a strategy to promote better education, good access to dental services and the removal of sugary drink.

Ms Mason said she was also delighted with a plan by the council to go a step further and look at introducing fluoridated water into some smaller communities.

It could make a huge difference, she said.

The council voted to launch a feasibility study into whether that was possible.

Whakatane dentist John Twaddle said anedoctally, the oral health of people from communities in the district that didn't have fluoridated water tended

to be much worse than those from Ohope and Whakatane.