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Media release: ADA NSW supports fluoridation of Gunnedah’s water supply

Media release: ADA NSW supports fluoridation of Gunnedah’s water supply

The Australian Dental Association NSW has expressed its strong support for community water fluoridation at a meeting with members of Gunnedah Shire Council.

As the peak body representing dentists and promoting good oral health in the community, ADA NSW supports water fluoridation in Gunnedah as a safe, effective and equitable means of preventing dental decay in people of all ages.

“Water fluoridation is one of the most widely-studied public health measures of all time,” specialist paediatric dentist, Dr Sarah Raphael, ADA NSW spokeswoman said. “Decades of research in Australia have proven it is safe and effective in preventing tooth decay. Water fluoridation gives everyone in the community protection from tooth decay on tap.”

Tooth decay affects 50 per cent of children, while 90 per cent of adults will experience tooth decay over their lifetime. It can be painful and costly, cause infection and tooth loss, and lead to hospitalisation, missed days at school and time off paid work. Children and the elderly, people living in rural and remote Australia and families on lower incomes have higher rates of dental decay.

Fluoride is an element that occurs naturally in nearly all water supplies.

“Fluoridation simply adjusts the level so we get the right amount to prevent tooth decay,” Dr Raphael said. “Research has shown it reduces tooth decay in kids and adolescents by 26 to 44 per cent, and by 27 per cent in adults.”

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia’s leading expert body responsible for developing and maintaining public health standards, has just released its statement on Water Fluoridation and Human Health in Australia.

After reviewing more than 20 years research, the NHMRC “strongly recommends community water fluoridation as a safe, effective and ethical way to help reduce tooth decay across the population”. The NHMRC goes on to state: “There is no reliable evidence of an association between community water fluoridation at current Australian levels and any health problems.”

Local dentist Dr Michael Jonas, who practises in Gunnedah and Tamworth, said fluoridation of Gunnedah’s town water supply is long overdue.

“You can tell whether someone has grown up in Gunnedah or Tamworth – which has been fluoridated for over 50 years – just by looking at their teeth,” he said. “There’s much worse tooth decay in Gunnedah, particularly in children and the elderly. Gunnedah residents are not getting the same health advantages as 93 per cent of people in NSW, and they are missing out.”

ADA NSW urges residents who want the same dental benefits as 93% of the rest of the state to say yes to fluoridation at

Download the media release