Key messages

  • Fluoridated water is available to 90 per cent of Victorians.
  • You can protect your teeth even if your community doesn’t have fluoride in its water supply.
  • Seek advice from an oral health professional and follow these tips for good oral health.

Fluoride helps to protect against tooth decay. If your community doesn’t have fluoride in its water supply, though, you can still protect your teeth.

The information presented here should not replace professional advice.

Water fluoridation in Victoria

As of mid-2010, 90 per cent of Victorians receive fluoridated drinking water. This important public health initiative helps protect against tooth decay.

However, fluoridated drinking water is not available to all Victorians - some households don’t have reticulated water, and not all reticulated supplies can be fluoridated.

Recommendations

Children who live in communities without water fluoridation or children who may be at higher risk of developing tooth decay should see an oral health professional for advice on how they can look after their teeth. This might include using toothpaste from an earlier age, or brushing teeth more often.

Residents in non-fluoridated areas can have some protection against tooth decay by eating and drinking things that have been processed in fluoridated communities.

Dental professionals used to recommend fluoride supplements that could be chewed or swallowed (including tablets, drops and lozenges) as a substitute for water fluoridation. This is no longer recommended.

Oral health tips

Follow these guidelines for good oral health:

  • Clean teeth and along the gum line at least twice a day.
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste appropriately.
    • For children aged up to 18 months, clean teeth as soon as they appear (around 6 months of age) using a soft toothbrush with a small head. Use only water, do not use toothpaste.
    • For children aged 18 months to 5 years, seek professional advice about whether your child should use a low-fluoride toothpaste or standard fluoride toothpaste.
    • For people aged 6 years and over, seek advice from an oral health professional about whether you should use a standard fluoride toothpaste or a higher-strength fluoride toothpaste.
  • Drink plenty of water every day.
  • Limit your intake of sugary carbonated drinks, fruit juice and alcohol.

Children should have an oral health check by the time they turn 2 years old. This can be done by a dentist, oral health therapist, general practitioner, or maternal and child health nurse.

Everybody has different oral health needs. Ask an oral health professional how often you should have a dental check-up.

Dental Health Services Victoria can help you find a community dental clinic and the Australian Dental Association can help you find a private dental clinic.

Contact details