In November 2023,
ADAQ answered ABC News’ questions on the state of public water fluoridation in Queensland
In the interview, ADAQ Past President, ADA 2023 Federal Councillor for Queensland, and Gold Coast dentist, Norah Ayad reiterated a simple fact: fluoridation is an essential public health measure, and as such, it is a state government’s responsibility, and should not be left in the hands of local councillors.
The State has a responsibility to make decisions for the best possible community health outcomes. This is not happening in Queensland today, whenever a decision is made against water fluoridation.
Since the Newman LNP government changed the legislation in 2012,
Councils retained the power to elect whether to fluoridate local water supplies or not. Many have decided against it.
Public water fluoridation has been available in Australia for over 70 years. It is still the easiest, safest and most socially equitable method to provide the dental health benefits of optimally fluoridated water, to the greatest number of people.
"The government regularly pays substantial aerial ambulance costs to bring children from remote communities to Mount Isa or Cairns for dental procedures under general anaesthetics. Some of that money would be far better spent ensuring water fluoridation reaches all Queensland, to reduce dental caries in the first place."
Children and adults in non-fluoridated communities suffer significantly more dental caries (tooth decay) than in fluoridated communities. Optimised water fluoridation has the potential to benefit everyone, and particularly those who are at greatest risk of tooth decay, such as young children, the elderly, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. And yet, many Queensland local government areas that don’t fluoridate their water supplies serve some of the state's most vulnerable residents, including many Indigenous communities.
Currently (2023) 51 out of 77 councils do not fluoridate water, and only about 72% of Queenslanders have access to fluoridated drinking water, against a 90% average nation-wide. Many of our members and their teams continue to see the sad results of our state lagging behind in their practices.