South Australian Oral Health Plan 2019 - 2026
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Fluoride was first introduced to drinking water in Australia in 1953 at Beaconsfield in Tasmania. Today more than 80% of Australians enjoy the benefit of water fluoridation.
In South Australia, water fluoridation commenced in Adelaide in 1971. Currently 90% of the state’s communities have access to reticulated water with appropriate levels of fluoride.
Organisations such as the World Health Organization and Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), endorse water fluoridation as a safe and effective public health measure. Furthermore, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention rated fluoridation one of the 10 most important public health achievements of the twentieth century.
Fluoride in water acts like a repair kit for teeth, working in a number of ways to strengthen teeth and make them more resistant to tooth decay in people of all ages.
Strong teeth result in fewer fillings, fewer extractions, fewer visits to the dentist and lower dental bills - resulting in healthy smiles and fewer dentures.
Treatment plants carefully add controlled amounts of fluoride into water in accordance with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
Fluoridated water does not smell or taste different to non-fluoridated water.
There are several controls that help ensure that the correct amount of fluoride is added. The fluoride levels in the water supplied to consumers are monitored continuously every day at the plant and samples of water are also taken throughout the distribution system by SA Water to check the concentration of fluoride ‘at the tap’.