ADAVB Chief Executive Officer's Comments
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Advocating for the dental health of all Victorians

WATER FLUORIDATION

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recently released its Draft Public Statement 2017: Water fluoridation and human health in Australia. This report contains recommendations on community water fluoridation, and reflects the latest evidence on water fluoridation and health relevant to Australia. Not surprisingly, the NHMRC confirmed that water fluoridation is both effective in preventing tooth decay and safe. Indeed, children and teenagers who had lived in areas with water fluoridation had 26–44 per cent fewer teeth or surfaces affected by decay, and adults had 27 per cent less tooth decay. The NHMRC found that there was reliable evidence to suggest that water fluoridation at 0.6–1.1 parts per million is NOT associated with cancer, Down syndrome, cognitive problems, lowered intelligence, hip fracture, chronic kidney disease, kidney stones, hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, low birth weight, premature death from any cause, musculoskeletal pain, osteoporosis, skeletal fluorosis (extra bone fluoride), thyroid problems or other self-reported complaints. Why is this important? Local councils in many parts of Australia are being pressured by small and vocal anti-fluoride campaigners to remove fluoride from their water supplies. Dentists have an important role to play in educating their local community on the benefits of water fluoridation to ensure that this effective public health policy remains in place in Victoria. For more information, visit www.nhmrc. gov.au/health-topics/health-effects-waterfluoridation and our ‘For the Public’ dental health facts page at adavb.net.

DENTAL HEALTH WEEK

Thanks to all members who participated in Dental Health Week from 7–13 August. The theme ‘Oral Health for Busy Lives’ resonated with many in the community. Dental Health Week is an important part of the calendar where we have the opportunity to highlight oral health issues and the role of dentists in the community. This year we saw fantastic engagement through social and traditional media, with the President having a number of interviews on radio segments around Victoria highlighting the importance of maintaining good oral health and regular dental visits. I was fortunate enough to get a spot on ABC News Breakfast to further spread the message to a large audience. The highlight though was Dr Gitika Sanghvi getting a great photo with Premier Daniel Andrews, showing that even he isn’t too busy to visit the dentist.

AMENDMENTS TO HEALTH SERVICES ACT 1988

The Victorian Government is proposing changes to the Health Services Act 1988 through the Health Legislation Amendment (Quality and Safety) Bill 2017. These changes are intended to capture more facilities in which prescribed procedures are conducted, and require them to be registered as Day Procedure Centres. It is likely that any office-based practices where general anaesthesia is currently performed will be required to register as a Day Procedure Centre. However, the Department of Health and Human Services is not clear on where it intends to draw the line with respect to conscious sedation. At present, it is engaging in stakeholder consultation, and the ADAVB will consider the views of members in our submission. Dentists who are currently endorsed for conscious sedation are encouraged to contact our Policy & Research Officer Dr Jennifer O’Connor to provide their comments and feedback at jennifer.oconnor@adavb.org.

MEMBER ENGAGEMENT

One of my key areas of focus is how we engage with members, and how we listen and respond to member needs. I look forward to presenting more on this in the near future as we develop and refine our strategy.

Clinical A/Prof Matt Hopcraft ceo@adavb.org



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Clinical A/Prof Matthew Hopcraft
BDSc MDSc BA PhD FICD
Chief Executive Officer
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