Fluoridation of drinking water

The most up-to-date evidence confirms fluoride in the water system is safe and effective for people of all ages.

Page last updated: 27 February 2020

Water fluoridation began in Australia in the 1960’s and has made a significant contribution to improving the oral health of Australians. Along with good oral hygiene and a healthy diet it can help prevent dental decay.

The National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC’s) most recent review on the safety of water fluoridation concluded that, at current Australian levels, it is a safe and as efficient way to reduce tooth decay in children and adults. There was no evidence that water fluoridation at Australian levels is associated with other health effects such as thyroid dysfunction or cancer.

Water fluoridation has been endorsed by leading organisations in Australia and internationally including the World Health Organization, Australian Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and the Australian Dental Association.

The national health position on water fluoridation is set out in the Healthy Mouths Healthy Lives: Australia’s National Oral Health Plan 2015-2024, found on the Council of Australian Governments Health Council website.