19 October 2018

Australind and Eaton to benefit from fluoridated drinking water

The key regional communities of Australind and Eaton will have fluoridated drinking water by mid-2020, as part of an overall strategy to combat tooth decay in the region.

More than 92 per cent of the Western Australian population, including the Perth metropolitan area and most large regional communities in WA, has benefited from fluoridation of drinking water for more than 40 years.

With a growing population of approximately 23,000 people (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016), Australind and Eaton, along with the nearby communities of Bunbury and Dalyellup, form part of the largest regional population in Western Australia that does not currently receive the public health benefits of fluoridated drinking water.

Fluoridation of the Australind and Eaton public water supply is scheduled for completion by mid-2020. Residents of the nearby smaller communities of Burekup, Brunswick Junction, Pelican Point, Picton and Roelands will also receive the benefits of water fluoridation at this time, where they are connected to the same Water Corporation operated public water supply scheme.  This water supply system is separate to that for Bunbury.

Community water fluoridation for this area has also been supported by the WA Branch of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Paediatric Dentistry, the WA Branch of the Australian Dental Association, the South West Dental Convocation and local community dental practices.

The State Oral Health Plan 2016-2020 also recognises the extension of fluoridation as an essential part of Western Australia’s oral health strategy.

Future community water fluoridation for Bunbury and Dalyellup is also being investigated as part of the overall strategy to combat tooth decay.

The Department of Health will work with local governments in the region over coming months to keep the community fully informed and to answer resident queries.

For more information on community water fluoridation please visit healthywa.wa.gov.au (external link) and search “fluoridated drinking water” (external link) or telephone (08) 9388 4999.

Background information on community water fluoridation

Community water fluoridation is an important, cost-effective public health measure which plays a critical role in reducing dental decay and improving oral health. The benefits and safety of fluoridation of public drinking water supplies is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence.

The 2016 Dental Health Outcomes of Children Residing in Fluoridated and Non-Fluoridated Areas of Western Australia study analysed both the frequency and extent of tooth decay in fluoridated and unfluoridated areas of WA, for both deciduous and permanent teeth. It revealed that children from unfluoridated areas in the South West of Western Australia were at greater risk of having a worse tooth decay experience, compared with children from the fluoridated Perth metropolitan area. The peer-reviewed Oral health of schoolchildren in Western Australia (external link) report, published in the Australian Dental Journal in 2016, also made a similar finding.

Fluoridated drinking water particularly benefits children and those on a lower income as it is delivered directly into their home at no incremental cost. It contributes to a suite of oral health initiatives that include healthy diet, good oral hygiene, appropriate use of fluoridated toothpaste and regular dental check-ups, and will complement the existing public dental health services already available.

Fluoridation of drinking water is backed by authoritative health research agencies and government bodies in Australia and worldwide, including the World Health Organization and the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia.

Detailed information on water fluoridation (external link), including a letter from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) CEO to local governments (external link), the NHMRC public statement (external link) with a downloadable questions and answer document is also available on the NHMRC website.


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