Health advocates say a Hamilton City Council decision to drop fluoride from its water supply will mean a costly decline in oral health in which the poor will suffer most.

A special tribunal yesterday voted 7 to 1 in favour of removing fluoride from the city's water supply following four days of submissions.

Dr Felicity Dumble, Waikato District Health Board's medical officer of health, said the decision discounted the opinion of the vast majority of dentists and doctors locally and in New Zealand.

"They instead listened to a highly vocal minority and as a result the oral health of Hamilton residents will suffer, dental decay will increase and DHB dental services will be stretched and resources will need to be reallocated."

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