Oral health is fundamental to overall health, wellbeing and quality of life. A healthy mouth enables people to eat, speak and socialise without pain, discomfort or embarrassment.
Tooth decay is a disease that affects both children and adults, and can cause considerable pain and suffering. When severe, tooth decay can affect appearance, self-esteem and social interaction, and it can also make it difficult to speak and chew. Treating tooth decay can be costly, in terms of time and money. Some people, especially children, need a general anaesthetic to have their tooth decay treated.
Water fluoridation helps protect teeth against decay, and is the most effective way of allowing everybody access to the benefits of fluoride.
Scientific studies have shown that water fluoridation is safe and effective. In Australia, children living in optimally fluoridated areas experience considerably less tooth decay than those in areas without optimal fluoridation. It is also safe to reconstitute infant formula with fluoridated water, with no risk of tooth damage.
In Victoria, 90 per cent of communities drink water with either naturally occurring or added fluoride. Water fluoridation is an effective, inexpensive and socially equal way to reduce tooth decay in children and adults.