This Information Paper explores the potential link between water fluoridation and human health based on the findings of the 2016 National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Evidence Evaluation.a
The 2016 NHMRC Evidence Evaluation shows that water fluoridation helps to reduce tooth decay in children and adults. There is no reliable evidence that water fluoridation at current Australian levels causes health problems.
NHMRC found consistent evidence of an association between water fluoridation and dental fluorosis. In Australia, however, most dental fluorosis is very mild or mild, does not affect the function of teeth and is not of aesthetic concern to those who have it. Dental fluorosis is a change in the appearance of teeth that most commonly appears as white lines or areas on tooth surfaces. It is caused by a high intake of fluoride from one or more sources during the time when teeth are developing. During the time period between the 1990s and 2014, when the extent of fluoridation in Australia has expanded, dental fluorosis has declined from about 40% of children showing any dental fluorosis to 16.8%.