NHMRC Public Statement: Efficacy and Safety of Fluoridation

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The aim of a 2007 NHMRC systematic review of fluoride and health was to synthesise high level evidence in relation to the efficacy and safety of different forms of fluoridation, with emphasis on those able to be delivered as a widespread public health initiative. Methods of fluoride delivery reviewed were water, milk, salt and topical agents such as toothpaste and gels, though the evidence for water fluoridation is the most extensive.

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2013 Council consideration regarding the status of the Public Statement

NHMRC Council considered the NHMRC Public Statement on The Efficacy and Safety of Fluoridation at its meeting on 21 June 2013. Council reaffirmed its position that “Fluoridation of drinking water remains the most effective and socially equitable means of achieving community-wide exposure to the caries prevention effects of fluoride. It is recommended that water be fluoridated in the target range of 0.6 to 1.1 mg/L, depending on climate, to balance reduction of dental caries and occurrence of dental fluorosis”.

Council recommended that the Office of the NHMRC update the body of evidence to include more recent studies and assess their relevance in the Australian context.

This follows advice received from an Expert Meeting held on 20 June 2013 on water fluoridation, which included jurisdictional representatives and a range of technical experts.

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