Fluoridation

Fluoride is naturally found in all water sources, including fresh and sea water. Fluoride is also found naturally in a wide range of food items including tea, fish and rice. When present in drinking water at the optimum level, or used in dental treatments, fluoride can promote dental health by helping to prevent tooth damage and decay. It has also been shown that when added to drinking water supplies, fluoride can promote dental health by preventing tooth damage and decay.

For further information on fluoride, please refer to the following factsheets:

The State Oral Health Plan 2016–2020 was published by the Department of Health in 2016 and is accessible via the Chief Dental Office page.

The WA Health's position statement on fluoride use for oral health in Western Australia was published by the Department of Health in 2014 and is available for download from the link below:

WA Health's position statement on fluoride use for oral health in Western Australia (PDF 183KB)

The study Water Fluoridation and Dental Health of Children in WA was published by the Department of Health in 2016 and is available to download.

In Western Australia drinking water supplies can only be fluoridated by direction from the Minister for Health, in accordance with the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1966 (External link) (the Act). Under the Act, the Minister for Health may only make such a direction on the advice of the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Advisory Committee.

Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Advisory Committee

The Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Advisory Committee (the Committee) is a statutory committee established under the Act and operating under the chairmanship of the Department of Health. 

The function of the Committee is to consider, advise and make written recommendations to the Minister for Health relating to:

  • any proposal to add fluoride to any public water supply
  • any proposal for making, amending or revoking any regulation pursuant to the Act
  • matters conducive to the achievement of the objects and effectual administration of the Act.
The six members of the Committee are:

  • the Chief Health Officer (Chairman) or delegate
  • a representative of the Water Corporation nominated by the CEO
  • the CEO of the Chemistry Centre (WA) or nominee
  • a representative from the Australian Medical Association appointed by the Minister for Health
  • a representative from the Australian Dental Association appointed by the Minister for Health
  • a representative from the Western Australian Local Government Association appointed by the Minister for Health
The Committee is supported by a secretariat provided by the Environmental Health Directorate of the Department of Health.

The Committee operates in accordance with applicable record keeping and privacy provisions for the Western Australian public sector.

The Department of Health on behalf of the Committee conducts community surveys from time to time in communities that do not have fluoridated drinking water at the time of the survey, to determine that community's perception on fluoridation. The following survey reports are available for download:

For more information about any aspect of the Committee please contact:

Mr Richard Theobald
Secretary
Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Advisory Committee
Department of Health
P.O. Box 8172
Perth Business Centre WA 6849

Email: ehinfo@health.wa.gov.au

Last reviewed: 27-06-2016
Last updated: 21-07-2017
Produced by

Public Health