The South West community of Dalyellup will benefit from having fluoride added to drinking water this month, with Bunbury set to receive fluoridated water next year.
The Department of Health announced today that Capel and Donnybrook will also benefit from fluoridated water supplies by November 2024.
The move follows water fluoridation of neighbouring communities, Eaton and Australind, as well as Burekup, Brunswick Junction, Roelands and Pelican Point, in 2020. The measure brings Dalyellup into line with Perth and most of the rest of Western Australia, which has benefited from fluoridation of drinking water for more than 40 years.
Supplementation of community water supplies with the tooth-strengthening mineral is part of a broad long-term strategy to combat tooth decay across the State. Water fluoridation is a significant positive step for any community and a key step to providing the best possible health outcomes for community members, particularly for children.
WA’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Andrew Robertson said that fluoridation was an important preventative health measure to improve the oral and overall health of communities.
“People may not realise it, but poor oral health can affect an individual in many ways,” Dr Robertson said.
“It can impact on your ability to sleep, eat and speak and is also associated with a range of medical conditions such as heart and lung infections, cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
“Improving oral health in our South West communities, through fluoridation in water, will go a long way to lift the overall health and wellbeing of residents, particularly children.”
A 2016 Department of Health study found that children living in unfluoridated areas of the South West of Western Australia were more likely to have poor dental health than those living in the fluoridated Perth metropolitan area.
Fluoridating community water supplies is a key element of National and State oral health plans and is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the WA Branch of the Australian Dental Association, the South West Dental Convocation and local community dental practices in the South West.
About 92 per cent of WA’s population accesses fluoridated drinking water.
The Water Corporation (the water supplier for Dalyellup) is responsible for ensuring fluoridation of that community’s water supply.
Fluoridation of water in Bunbury, which is largely on a separate supply delivered by Aqwest, is scheduled for June 2023. A small section of northern Dalyellup is on the Aqwest supply.
Local residents who have questions about whether their water is fluoridated or not should contact their billing water supplier.
The Department of Health will monitor the water quality closely to ensure compliance with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1966.
A 2018 Water Fluoridation Survey of the Bunbury and Dalyellup areas can be viewed on the WA Health website.
Visit HealthyWA or telephone (08) 9222 2000 (members of the public) for more information on fluoridation and oral health.
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*Original article online at https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Media-releases/2022/July/Fluoride-on-tap-in-Dalyellup