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UK Against Fluoridation

Friday, June 10, 2016

Wellington mum Fran Renton, with son Loren, says toothpaste manufacturers should follow New Zealand guidelines

MONIQUE FORD / FAIRFAX NZ
Wellington mum Fran Renton, with son Loren, says toothpaste manufacturers should follow New Zealand guidelines and only ...Wellington mum Fran Renton, with son Loren, says toothpaste manufacturers should follow New Zealand guidelines and only produce full-strength fluoride children's toothpaste.

'Child strength' toothpaste should be pulled from the shelves and replaced with full-fluoride adult toothpaste in line with New Zealand standards, public health dentists says.

Robin Whyman, Hawke's Bay District Health Board's clinical director for oral health, made the call as a new Health Promotion Agency study – published in the New Zealand Medical Journal on Friday – found that despite the Ministry of Health's recommendation that everybody use full-strength fluoride toothpastes, just 19 per cent of preschoolers in a survey of more than 1000 parents used it.

Studies showed low-strength toothpastes did not work in reducing tooth decay, while health authorities recommend toothpastes labelled 'child strength' should be avoided for all ages because of their low fluoride levels.

"We're concerned about the access to these low-strength toothpastes in New Zealand," Whyman said.
"We'd like to see these companies market to the guidelines – parents are going with a brand they trust and what's on the box is influencing their decisions,"
Fluoride strength in children's toothpaste varied widely, with brands pitched at babies or children – or as 'natural' or 'herbal' – typically containing less fluoride than adult toothpastes, or no fluoride at all, the study found.
Whyman said children's low-strength toothpastes sold here were manufactured for the Australian market, which had a much higher rate of water fluoridation than New Zealand.
Only 27 of the country's 67 local authorities fluoridate their water, leaving 1.4 million Kiwis in areas without fluoridation.

New Zealand Dental Association spokesman, dentist Rob Beaglehole, backed Whyman's call for across-the-board full-strength toothpaste and said the study also highlighted the need for more water fluoridation.
Beaglehole also applauded recently-announced Government plans to wrest decision-making powers for fluoridating water supplies away from local authorities and on to DHBs.
The study quotes earlier research showing just 15 per cent of preschoolers brushed twice daily with fluoride toothpaste – a figure Beaglehole found alarming.

"The toothpaste companies should stop selling and marketing kids' toothpaste – particularly with the cartoon figures on – because this encourages parents to buy an inefficient product," Beaglehole said.

The study found the main reason parents and caregivers chose children's toothpaste was because they trusted the brand – a sentiment echoed by Wellington mum Fran Renton.
​"As a parent you think you can rely on what's on the toothpaste packet."
It was only after her husband took their four-year-old son Loren to his before-school check-up that she learned about the guidelines.
"It was just luck that we'd been using full-strength toothpaste then, but we've had low-strength ones in the past," Renton said.
The couple also had no idea that not rinsing after brushing was the new dental norm – "it's changed since we were young".
Renton said busy parents were always trying to do the right thing.
"They're trying to brush their kids' teeth twice a day which is bloody hard enough anyway, so it would be good to see the toothpaste companies keep up to the New Zealand standard."
The study's authors suggested clear, explicit information on packaging could help clear up confusion around toothpaste choice, as manufacturers' instructions on packaging could be inconsistent with health ministry recommendations.

Too much fluoride.


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