This is a decades old debate.  Basically the fluoridation of water with soluble fluoride salts is considered to prevent tooth decay and thus tap water has been widely fluoridated in many countries.  The decision to do this in NZ is up to individual municipal councils.

However, fluoride salts are mildly toxic. For most people the very dilute existence of them in tap water isn’t going to cause them any problems, but everyone is different and there are some people who will be affected by it.  The scenario is the same as with the mercury that has traditionally been used in dental fillings: it won’t affect most people, but it does affect some people.

Fluoride can be removed by reverse osmosis filtration, but the systems are generally unaffordable for personal use.  Most bottled water as sold in stores won’t have added fluoride salts, but you have to pay for it.

If fluoride isn’t in water, you can get toothpastes which have it – and applying it directly to teeth is much more effective in achieving its dental benefit than by drinking it.

My view is simple: whether or not you consume fluoride should be a matter of your individual choice and should not be imposed on you.

The Kapiti Coast council should put the issue to a referendum with the next council elections, which are scheduled for October next year, but before that there is certain to be a referendum on the threatened ‘super-city’ which this could be included in.