News

WA study confirms fluoride dental benefits

14 September 2016

A new Western Australian study highlights the positive impact of water fluoridation on children's oral health.

Boy drinking a glass of water

The Dental Health Outcomes of Children Residing in Fluoridated and Non-Fluoridated Areas of Western Australia report (external site) reveals children from unfluoridated areas were at 1.6 times the risk of having one or more decayed, missing or filled permanent teeth, compared with children drinking fluoridated water.

As well as pain, infection and tooth loss, tooth decay can disrupt eating, sleeping and social interaction. Ongoing oral infections are associated with lung and heart disease, stroke and poor pregnancy outcomes.

The study also found that fluoride reduced decay in the very young, with children from unfluoridated areas at 1.5 times the risk having one or more decayed, missing or filled deciduous (baby) teeth.

With more than 92 per cent of West Australians having access to fluoridated water, only small pockets of the State remain unfluoridated.

The study examined the oral health of nearly 11,000 children aged 5 to 12 years who attended Government dental centres in 2011-12, comparing the results from the fluoridated Perth metropolitan area with unfluoridated centres in the South-West.

Fluoridated water has recently been brought to Moora, Dongara and Port Denison. Port Hedland is expected to have fluoridated water by the end of 2016, with Newman, Kununurra and Yanchep due to come on line in 2017.

Learn more about fluoride and preventing tooth decay.

Infographic: Fluoridated areas vs unfluoridated areas. Children from unfluoridated areas are 1.6 times the risk of having one or more decayed, missing or filled permanent teeth and 1.5 times the risk of having one or more decayed, missing or filled deciduous (baby) teeth – compared with children from fluoridated areas.