Are we living in the Third World?
Well, if you look at our children’s teeth, you might think again.
Gosford Shire children, under the age of six, are consistently suffering from elevated rates of decayed, missing or filled teeth (DMFT).
Sydney children have DMFTs of less than one. Countries like Papua New Guinea and Mongolia have DMFTs of four to six. Gosford lies somewhere in the middle.
It seems that our children are paying the price, due to the high sugar content found in our highly processed Western diets.
There has been a steady increase in sugar consumption since the early 1900s with a resultant increase in tooth decay.
Regular check-ups, oral hygiene awareness and use of fluoridated tooth pastes have kept our shire’s decay rate below the Third World, yet is there a cost-effective way to go that extra step?
On September 17, 1977, a referendum voted against the introduction of water fluoridation in Gosford Shire.
It seems that the repercussions of this decision are still being felt today.
Daily bathing of tooth surfaces with extremely low levels of fluoride (one part per million or less) has been shown to be the most cost-effective and efficient, way of preventing, decay.
When a, tooth erupts through the gum and comes into contact with food and saliva, it is at best 60 to 70% mineralised (resistant to decay).
The remaining 40% is acquired over the next three years and it is water fluoridation that aids this process – and is the most cost-effective.
It also helps maintain the toughness of our teeth through life, preventing tooth decay in the aged.
It is unbelievable that as we approach the new millenium, the City of Gosford is still dragging its feet on some issues of public health.