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 helping to prevent tooth decay.

For further information on fluoride and fluoridated drinking water, please refer to the following factsheets:

For further information on dental health please visit our Dental Health web site (external site).

Fluoridation publications

The study Water Fluoridation and Dental Health of Children in WA was published by the Department of Health in 2016. This study analysed both the frequency and extent of tooth decay in fluoridated and unfluoridated areas of WA, for both deciduous and permanent teeth. It revealed that children from unfluoridated areas in the South West of Western Australia were at greater risk of having a worse tooth decay experience, compared with children from the fluoridated Perth metropolitan area. The peer-reviewed report Oral health of school children in Western Australia (external site), published in the Australian Dental Journal in 2016, also made a similar finding.

The Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1966, the second and third reading speech for the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Bill and associated debates can be accessed via the links below:

Media releases

Fluoridation survey reports

The Department of Health on behalf of the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Advisory 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:

Further reading

Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Advisory Committee

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.

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 current Chair of the Committee is Dr Richard Lugg, pursuant to an Instrument of Designation that has been signed by the Chief Health Officer in accordance with section 5(4) of the Act.

Nominations and appointments are made pursuant to section 5(2) of the Act and are subject to the provisions set out in the remainder of section 5 of the Act.

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.

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: 16-08-2018
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Public Health