The Bay of Plenty Times asked the 2016 Bay of Plenty District Health Board candidates if they thought the Bay water supply should be fluoridated, and to explain why they were for or against this.

The current Bay of Plenty DHB had a position statement on this issue from a meeting on March 23, which stated:

"It supports the Ministry of Health policy to promote community water fluoridation programmes as one of a wider range of strategies to protect and improve the oral health of all people with their natural teeth, particularly children and population groups most at risk of dental decay."

"It will work with all local authorities in the BOPDHB district to maintain or introduce community water fluoridation in appropriate drinking water supplies where technically possible. This will include engagement in public referenda and other local authority processes, such as tribunals, and ten year and annual plans, through normal Board processes including the provision of information on oral health and community water fluoridation."

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According to the position statement. The Tauranga water supply and Christchurch are the only two major urban areas which are not fluoridated.

For more information on the statement, go to: www.bopdhb.govt.nz/media/58991/bopdhb-position-statement-fluoridation-2016.pdf

Mark Arundel (Current BOPDHB member)

BOPDHB candidate Mark Arundel. Photo/Supplied
BOPDHB candidate Mark Arundel. Photo/Supplied

"I support the BOPDHB position statement on fluoridation. My own research as recently as last week continues to affirm the position that it is safe and the most cost effective population health activity giving life-long benefits to both young and old, the young who are unable to protect themselves and in age those who lack the resources to maintain poor teeth."

Yvonne Boyes (Current BOPDHB member)

BOPDHB candidate Yvonne Boyes. Photo/supplied
BOPDHB candidate Yvonne Boyes. Photo/supplied

"Yes I do, I was a part of the DHB when the [position statement on fluoridation] was written and it was a board decision. [To] improve, promote, and protect the health of people and communities, [and] to exhibit a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of people to whom it provides."

Ron Chamberlain

BOPDHB candidate Ron Chamberlain. Photo/supplied
BOPDHB candidate Ron Chamberlain. Photo/supplied

I personally think it is up to the public to say whether they want it or not, it's not up to any particular body to say yes or no.

Bev Edlin

BOPDHB candidate Bev Edlin. Photo/supplied
BOPDHB candidate Bev Edlin. Photo/supplied

"I chose to give my own children fluoride tablets which appears to have benefited them - they have strong teeth and bones. That said, I do believe parents have the right to decide what their children should or shouldn't take, as long as the ongoing health of their children is at the forefront of their decision."

Geoff Esterman (Current BOPDHB member)

BOPDHB candidate Geoff Esterman. Photo/supplied
BOPDHB candidate Geoff Esterman. Photo/supplied

"Yes, I am generally in favour of fluoridation. The evidence published seems clear that it is safe and that it reduces dental decay. It is, in my opinion, only part of the answer to reducing the high rates of tooth decay in Bay of Plenty children, the other important part being education and resources to help good food choices and good oral hygiene."

Richard Forster

BOPDHB candidate Richard Forster. Photo/Supplied
BOPDHB candidate Richard Forster. Photo/Supplied

"Yes, the Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation, and Central Disease Control all recommend supplementation of domestic water supply that is fluoride deficient. The Bay of Plenty DHB does not have to make up health policy on the hoof, but must rely on best health and practice."

Ron Fyfe

BOPDHB candidate Ron Fyfe. Photo/Supplied
BOPDHB candidate Ron Fyfe. Photo/Supplied

"Yes, mainly because my father was a dentist in Glasgow working in both the dental hospital and dental school [and] he was an incredibly strong advocate for fluoridation as he constantly saw the devastating results in children's tooth decay due to lack of fluoridation. I am aware that much research has been done since then which I would need to study if it did come to a vote."

Carole Gordon

BOPDHB candidate Carole Gordon. Photo/supplied
BOPDHB candidate Carole Gordon. Photo/supplied

"As a principle I do not support compulsory medication of the public by government or its agencies. If the concern is to improve dental health, then there are many other strategies that can be adopted."

Marion Guy (Current BOPDHB member)

BOPDHB candidate Marion Guy. Photo/supplied
BOPDHB candidate Marion Guy. Photo/supplied

"No, I would rather see interventions put in place such as educating children to brush their teeth with fluoridated toothpaste rather than a mass medication of the community. We need to try the interventions first."

Callum Hunter

BOPDHB candidate Callum Hunter. Photo/supplied
BOPDHB candidate Callum Hunter. Photo/supplied

"Yes, the evidence available overwhelmingly suggests that fluoridating the water supply is both a safe and effective practice at the levels that local bodies supply it in NZ. That being said, fluoridation is not 'the silver bullet', and needs to be combined with dental health programmes and education if we're to ensure the community has the highest quality dental health."

Yvette Lamare

BOPDHB candidate Yvette Lamare. Photo/Supplied
BOPDHB candidate Yvette Lamare. Photo/Supplied

"No, please on my behalf give this website to the public to read with their own eyes, 50 reasons why our water should not be fluoridated. www.fluoridealert.org/articles/50reasons/."

Rob Moncrieff 300916ACWRobMONCRIEFF

"Yes, but there should be a national approach to water, which includes [fluoridation]. On a national level we need change, from a local level we need an individual approach with a bit of substance. That could change if we had a national approach to fluoridation and water."

Kirsten Murfitt

BOPDHB candidate Kirsten Murfitt. Photo/supplied
BOPDHB candidate Kirsten Murfitt. Photo/supplied

"No, given that adding fluoride to the water is a contentious decision which impacts on everyone in the community, the DHB should consider if any early intervention and education programme on dental health and the prevention of tooth decay is the better approach. While I have not had the opportunity to fully research the pros and cons, I believe that the community should be involved in any decision to add fluoride to the water."

Jane Nees

Jane Nees
Jane Nees

"My reading to date leads me to believe water fluoridation prevents and reduces the occurrence and severity of tooth decay by strengthening and rebuilding tooth enamel [and] I also believe it can be safely added to water supplies at appropriate levels so that it poses no health risk. I would support fluoridation subject to further evaluation of the latest scientific evidence and community feedback."

Peter Nicholl

Peter Nicholl.
Peter Nicholl.

"I believe the evidence shows that fluoridation is successful as a preventative measure, so I support it."

Matua Parkinson (Current BOPDHB member)

BOPDHB candidate Matua Parkinson
BOPDHB candidate Matua Parkinson

"I support the Bay of Plenty DHB fluoridation position statement."

Janet Peters

BOPDHB candidate Janet Peters. Photo/supplied
BOPDHB candidate Janet Peters. Photo/supplied

"I presume it would take at least a year or two to have all the information put forward to make a decision, but I'm really keen to learn more and educate myself. In essence I would say I don't know enough yet, I am aware people are very passionate about this and I want to make a very informed decision."

Hylton Rhodes

Hylton Rhodes.
Hylton Rhodes.

"No. I have stated categorically I am against fluoridation. I do not want to be a part of a state-forced non-choice poison medication. There is enough fluoride in toothpaste and that is why dental improvement has taken place everywhere, not only in fluoridated towns."

Ron Scott (Current BOPDHB member)

BOPDHB candidate Ron Scott. Photo/supplied
BOPDHB candidate Ron Scott. Photo/supplied

"The [Community Water Fluoridation] statement's key points are to work with local authorities, communities and iwi regarding the impact of fluoridation, to continue to seek the best and latest information on the subject and to support our Community Dental Service through a range of other measures. Having read all the raw research referenced by staff experts, questioned the data closely and heard many submissions, I am entirely satisfied that the Board's process was as robust as possible and fully support its position."

Judy Turner (Current BOPDHB member)

BOPDHB candidate Judy Turner. Photo/supplied
BOPDHB candidate Judy Turner. Photo/supplied

"Yes, a mouthful of decaying teeth puts a child at risk for a number of serious conditions, additional to the pain and discomfort of the decay. Surgeons tasked with the job of removing under general anaesthetic a mouth full of rotten first teeth in a preschooler will attest to the value of doing all we can to protect children with every tool we have at our disposal."