'Will improve oral health and mean fewer costly trips to the dentist' - fluoridation to get $12 million boost

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1 NEWS

Dental health is getting an extra $12 million over four years in Budget 2017 as the government aims to fund infrastructure needed to fluoridate more drinking water.

District Health Boards are to decide which water supplies get fluoridated under new proposals, not local councils.

Source: 1 NEWS

The funding boost is set to affect more than 1.4 million New Zealanders who live in areas where community water supplies are not currently fluoridated.

"While New Zealand's oral health has improved dramatically over the last 30 years, we still have high rates of preventable tooth decay," said Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman.

He said out of the 85 per cent of the population supplied with public drinking water, only 54 per cent receive fluoridated water.

"Increasing access to fluoridated water will improve oral health and mean fewer costly trips to the dentist," said Dr Coleman.

"We know that children have up to 40 per cent less tooth decay in fluoridated areas compared to areas without fluoride."

The Budget 2017 funding will support the implementation of the proposed Health (Flouridaiton of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill currently before the house.

The bill is awaiting a second reading, and when passed DHBs are expected to start making decisions about water fluoridation in 2018.

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