Fluoridation roll out for South-West communities

The South-West communities of Bunbury and Dalyellup will have fluoridated drinking water on tap by 2023.

This follows the setting of fluoridation target dates of June 2022 for Dalyellup and June 2023 for Bunbury.

It also follows water fluoridation in November, of neighbouring communities, Eaton and Australind, as well as Burekup, Brunswick Junction, Roelands and Pelican Point.

Supplementation of the communities’ water supplies with the tooth-strengthening mineral is part of a broad long-term strategy to combat tooth decay across the State. The measure will bring the South West into line with Perth and most of the rest of Western Australia.

Today about 92 per cent of WA’s population accesses fluoridated drinking water.

WA’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Andrew Robertson has welcomed the forthcoming fluoridation, describing it as an important milestone for the communities.

“Fluoridation is an important preventative health measure that improves the oral and overall health of populations,” Dr Robertson said.

“Poor oral health can affect an individual’s 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.

“So improving oral health in these communities will go a long way to lifting the overall health and wellbeing of residents, particularly children.”

Fluoridating community water supplies is a key element of the National and State Oral Health plans.

Despite being next to one another, Bunbury and Dalyellup have largely separate water supplies.

Aqwest (the water authority for Bunbury) and Water Corporation (the water authority for Dalyellup) will be responsible for ensuring fluoridation of these water supplies by their respective due dates.

The Department of Health will monitor the water quality and fluoridation process closely to ensure compliance with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1966.

The Department of Health has consulted with the towns about fluoridation and a 2018 Water Fluoridation Survey of the Bunbury and Dalyellup areas can be viewed on the WA Health website.

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.

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