For some people, fear of the dentist is greater than the fear of dying. It's called odontophobia.
Dentists, as a profession, also have phobias. They are phobic about a robust public campaign combating the nonsense being pushed to local governments in Queensland about fluoridation.
When a council backs out of fluoridating its water, there is the ritual wringing, and then washing, of hands by the dentists, and then nothing.
Only a third of Queensland councils fluoridate their water, and most of those are in the south-east. Cairns, Mount Isa, Bundaberg, Gladstone and now Mackay councils do not fluoridate their water.
The dental profession needs to make it unambiguously clear to local government councillors that at the next election, they will mobilise their colleagues, and their patients, to vote against any councillor who countenances a ban on fluoridation.
In this campaign dentists need to call on the support of the medical profession. The Australian Medical Association is a more powerful industrial organisation than the CFMEU.
Given the correlation between poor dental health, clinical depression and heart disease, (Journal of Periodontology 2009 80  260-266), GPs have a vital interest in dental health.
So do politicians who want to reduce health costs. Health costs currently inflate about 6 per cent a year.
Recently released Queensland Health figures show that as at August 31, 2016 there were 124,000 Queenslanders on the waiting list for dental treatment.
The long term cost of additions to that waiting list can be curbed by water fluoridation. Almost 10 per cent of the current waiting list is located in Wide Bay. No surprise then that Bundaberg, Maryborough and Hervey Bay councils do not fluoridate their water.
Is there possibly a correlation between the opponents of fluoridation, opponents of vaccination, climate change denial and support for One Nation?
The "no jab, no play" initiative has worked, increasing vaccination rates, and professional bodies need to take a stand when the lunatic fringe start calling the shots.
It is surprising that when One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts rubbished the reputation of CSIRO at his now-infamous climate change media conference on November 7, that he was not drowned out by a wave of rebuttal from the Australian Academy of Science, university deans of science, prominent scientists and science teachers associations.
CSIRO, for all its woes, is a national treasure whose work has done more to help the farmers of this country than the Country Party ever has. And what about a bi-partisan statement of support for CSIRO from the nation's science ministers?
We owe this de-fluoridisation push, first to the Newman Government, and then to the current government, who made fluoridation optional.
We know that Queenslanders outside the metropolitan area have poorer health outcomes than those in the great south-east. Imagine if we made mosquito spraying optional for local government?
Perhaps a class action by the citizens of one our unflouridated provincial cities will prompt a re-think. Private dental care costs an arm and a leg, so private dentists could easily underwrite the class action, in the public interest.
Dr John Harrison is senior lecturer in the University of Queensland's School of Communication and Arts.