The key regional communities of Eaton and Australind along with smaller areas including Burekup will have fluoridated drinking water by mid-2020, as part of an overall strategy by the Department of Health (WA) to combat tooth decay.
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.
Fluoridation of the public water supply in these additional areas is scheduled for completion by mid-2020.
Smaller communities that will also benefit are connected to the same Water Corporation operated water supply scheme.
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 recognises the extension of fluoridation as an essential part of Western Australia’s oral health strategy.
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 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 (NHMRC).