Facts about fluoride

Community Water Fluoridation is an effective, safe and affordable way to prevent and reduce tooth decay for everyone.

Along with brushing teeth twice a day, eating healthy food and avoiding sugary drinks, water fluoridation helps to prevent tooth decay.

Over half of children, and over a third of adults, don’t brush twice daily with the recommended fluoride toothpaste – so water fluoridation is particularly important. (Ministry of Health’s NZ Oral Health Survey 2009)

It’s effective

Over 60 years of international and New Zealand studies show that children and adults living in areas with water fluoridation have significantly less tooth decay than those living in non-fluoridated areas.

The NZ Oral Health Survey 2009 shows that on average New Zealand children have 40% less decay experience (ie, decayed, missing or filled teeth) in areas with fluoridation than in areas without it.

It’s safe

Overwhelming evidence from decades of having Community Water Fluoridation is that it is safe. ‘It is absolutely clear that at doses used in New Zealand to adjust the natural level to one that is consistent with beneficial effects (0.7–1.0ppm), there is no risk from fluoride in the water.’ Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor, Office of the Prime Minister's Science Advisory Committee.

Organisations that endorse community water fluoridation

  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • The New Zealand Dental Association
  • New Zealand Medical Association
  • Public Health Association of New Zealand
  • Ministry of Health
  • New Zealand Nurses Organisation
  • Te Ao Marama - The Māori Dental Association
  • Pasifika Dental Association
  • Etu Pasifika
  • Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service
  • New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine
  • NZ Dental and Oral Health Therapists Association
  • NZ Oral Health Clinical Advisory Network
  • New Zealand Society of Hospital and Community Dentistry
  • New Zealand Rural General Practice Network
  • Office of the Children's Commissioner
  • Royal New Zealand Plunket Society
  • University of Otago
  • Paediatric Society of New Zealand
  • Agencies for Nutrition Action
  • British Dental Association
  • British Medical Association
  • Australian Dental Association
  • Australian National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Department of Health, Victorian Government, Australia
  • US Surgeon General
  • American Dental Association
  • Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (USA)
  • FDI World Dental Federation

It’s affordable

There is strong evidence that community water fluoridation is cost-effective – saving much more in dental costs for individuals than it costs to run fluoridation programmes.

Cost of fluoridation approx. $2.60 per person per year (Sapere Research Group, 2015)

$250: Average cost of a single filling for an adult (Sapere Research Group, 2015)

For every dollar that is spent on water fluoridation, $9 are saved in dental care costs. Some of these savings are seen by the health system, but it is mostly individual New Zealanders who benefit – paying for fewer fillings and tooth extractions. (Sapere Research Group, 2015)

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