About 70 per cent of Australian households have fluoride in their drinking water. The benefits of fluoridated water were first recognised in 1953 and fluoride was added to the water supply in most Australian states between the 1960s and 1970s.
The advantages of fluoridated water are considered so great that the leading national public health institute in the United States, The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, has called it “one of the 10 greatest health achievements of the 20th century”. Fluoride has long been added to many toothpastes, mouth rinses and some dental products around the world.
Fluoride occurs naturally in many of our water sources. It can be found in ground water and the ocean but it needs to be at a certain concentration to become beneficial. That’s why the fluoride concentration in Australian water is adjusted – to give the most benefit. Its effectiveness is also influenced by the temperature of the area, so states with a warmer climate (such as Queensland) require less additional fluoride in the drinking water.
The major reason for fluoridating water is to prevent tooth decay. When the water comes into contact with our teeth, the fluoride minerals are deposited into the tooth surface in a process known as remineralisation. This then strengthens the tooth and helps stop decay from progressing. It also helps stop new decay from starting by making the tooth surface more resilient.
Fluoride in the water is estimated to stop at least a quarter of probable new incidences of decay and the great thing is that it protects all ages – so it’s beneficial for young and old. If you have a high rate of dental decay or eat a diet that is high in sugar, your dentist may even recommend some additional products that are high in fluoride to help combat the decay.
So the answer to our question is Yes – fluoridated water is good for you. It will help to keep dental decay at bay and make your teeth stronger. It is safe and effective for all ages.