Doctors urge Lismore council to add fluoride to water

LOCAL doctors have joined the fluoride debate, saying that if Lismore Council does not reverse its decision local residents will suffer.

Dr David Guest, Northern Rivers General Practice Network chairman, said he and his colleagues believed the time for debate and delays was over.

"We're dealing with facts, not opinions, and the facts are that fluoride is the best way of protecting the community's oral health," he said.

"It is no coincidence that the North Coast has the worst oral health in NSW, and this is compounded by people with generally low incomes being unable to afford the remedial dental care they need."

Dr Guest said the GP network decided to make a public statement because it was an important public health issue.

He said by the time GPs see somebody with oral health problems, there was not much they could do other than painkillers and antibiotics.

"It's better to prevent it rather than treat it," he said.

Lismore pediatrician Dr Chris Ingall has also been speaking to Lismore councillors, urging them to reconsider their vote next week.

He often saw "children with sore mouths from dental decay" which could affect their diet and general health.

"Fluoride in the water supply is the only way to gain the benefits of fluoridisation. History has taught us tablets and just brushing aren't enough. We need fluoride in the water to achieve better healthy teeth and mouths," he said.

Dr Ingall said the civil rights argument - people have a right not to have a chemical imposed upon them via drinking water supply - was interesting.

"But I'd put to them the civil rights of children - who don't have a voice in this debate - must also be considered."