Following news last month of the UK government’s proposal that would give the Health Secretary new powers around water fluoridation, presented as part of the new Health and Care White Paper, the government in New Zealand now appears to be making the same proposal.
The New Zealand Government’s proposed change in the law change would, if passed, give the Director-General of Health control over water fluoridation.
As reported on New Zealand Doctor Online, The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners has responded favourably to the news, with its president, Dr Samantha Murton, telling the outlet: “The College supports evidence-based medicine, and there is strong scientific evidence to support drinking water fluoridation as a safe, effective measure to maintain oral health, prevent tooth decay, and reduce health inequities.
“Moving responsibility for fluoridation away from local councils, who are not necessarily experts in public health measures and can be pressured by public opinion, ensures that this becomes a considered move towards the betterment of oral health.”
“Around 6,500 children under the age of nine were admitted to hospital for tooth decay and associated infections in 2019,” explained New Zealand’s Associate Health Minister, Dr Ayesha Verrall. “The Fluoridation Bill as a whole recognises water fluoridation is a health-related issue. Right now only around 2.3 million New Zealanders have access to fluoridated drinking water. Community water fluoridation is a proven public health measure that will make a big difference to children’s wellbeing.”