New Australian Fluoride Guidelines released

The use of fluorides is a cornerstone in the prevention of tooth decay in Australia, with fluoridated water in particular being a mainstay of preventive efforts since the 1970s. There are multiple ways in which Australians can access fluoride to protect and strengthen their teeth, ranging from consuming fluoridated water to brushing daily with fluoridated toothpaste or the application of fluoride gels by dental professionals.

Recognising the pivotal role of fluoride, The 2004 National Oral Health Plan 2004-2013, included a call for a consensus conference on use of discretionary sources of fluoride and other preventive agents, as a first step towards establishing an evidence-based suite of health promotion messages.

Following this, an inaugural workshop was held in 2005 to develop the Guidelines for the use of fluorides in Australia, which were released in October 2006. They were next updated in 2012 and again, most recently, in 2019 following further workshops held to review these guidelines, which led to the recent release of the Guidelines for use of fluorides in Australia: update 2019.

The 2019 workshop, attended by 60 academic and dental health professional experts, including representatives from ADA federal and state branches, included a series of presentations and consensus discussions which guided the updates to these guidelines. The final document includes guidelines on the use of water fluoridation, fluoridated toothpaste, fluoride supplements, fluoride mouth rinses, varnishes and gels as well as silver diamine fluoride.

You will find some new recommendations included in the 2019 guidelines that have not been included in the past.

For the first time, a recommendation on the use silver diamine fluoride is included and the use of fluoride foam is not recommended due to a lack of evidence supporting its effectiveness, a change from both the 2006 and 2012 guidelines. The guidelines continue to support the use of low fluoride toothpaste (500ppm) in children 18 months to 6 years of age, a factor recognised as contributing to the reduction in both the prevalence and severity of fluorosis in the teeth of Australian children.

The Guidelines are published in the Australian Dental Journal March 2020 edition; however, they are publicly available online also. Click here to read the latest Fluoride Guidelines.

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