Former Townsville dentist sees ‘Third-world’ tooth decay

Rocky dentist Dr Vu Ngo supports the reintroduction of fluoride into the city's water supply as a way of improving the dental wellbeing of residents. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Rocky dentist Dr Vu Ngo supports the reintroduction of fluoride into the city's water supply as a way of improving the dental wellbeing of residents. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

WHEN former Townsville dentist Dr Vu Ngo stares into the mouths of Rocky's kids he can see a yawning gap in tooth decay standards.

Dr Ngo moved to Rockhampton four years ago from Townsville and is seeing first hand the impact that a lack of fluoride is having on the teeth of Rocky's kids.

"You can see in places like Townsville there is a lot less decay in children's teeth because they have always had fluoride in their water, compared to Rockhampton which hasn't."

He yesterday described the tooth decay rate in some parts of Queensland as "third world".

The Queensland Child Oral Health Survey 2010-2012 report released yesterday shows three in four children (74.1%) in Northern Queensland (which includes the Rockhampton region) visited for a check-up at their last dental visit and 26% of them visited for a dental problem.

Do you want to see fluoride reintroduced into Rockhampton water?

This poll ended on 22 August 2014.

Yes - 46%

No - 53%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"It would be great if it (fluoride) was re-introduced," Dr Ngo said as he added his support to the call during Dental Health Week.

Graduating from the University of Queensland, Dr Ngo joined Rockhampton's PVB Dental in 2010.

Dr Ngo said children who lived in areas of Queensland with fluoridated water were experiencing far lower levels of tooth decay - Townsville has 39% compared to the previously non-fluoridated rest of north Queensland's 57%.

"When children have fluoride they are resistant to decay," Dr Ngo said.

"For children under 12 it's really important for their developing teeth."


One-in-three children in Queensland aged 5 to 6 years old had never visited a dentist

Problem visiting was more prevalent in kids aged 7 to 10 years (approximately 28%)

Rockhampton Regional Council decided to stop fluoridating the public water supply treated by Fitzroy River Water in 2013.

Dosing of fluoride into both the Rockhampton and Mount Morgan water supply stopped in July last year, after a 30-day notification period.

Rockhampton Region Mayor, Margaret Strelow said in a statement yesterday that council had weighed up a range of comments from the community and decided to withdraw fluoride from the region's water supply.

"There are many different factors involved in healthy teeth, and fluoride is only one factor," Cr Strelow said.

As to whether we could see fluoride returned to the water supply, Mayor Strelow said: "At any time a councillor can put forward a motion for a matter to be reconsidered."


Mackay: has fluoride

Central Highlands: has fluoride

Gladstone: has fluoride

Topics:  dentist fluoride

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