Law change urged to address Queensland’s poor fluoridation rate

6 July 2021

Professor Lo Do, from UQ's School of Dentistry was interviewed by Brisbane Times about his study on 24,664 Australian children that raised particular concerns for young Queenslanders and tooth decay. 

A Newman government law change allowing Queensland councils to opt out of the water fluoridation scheme needs to be reversed, according to the co-author of a new study confirming that children living in areas that don’t have fluoridated water are at much greater risk of tooth decay.

The study, led by UQ researchers found children who had limited exposure to fluoride combined with a high sugar intake were 70 per cent more likely to develop cavities in their adult teeth.

The researchers looked at data from 24,664 children across Australia, and Professor Loc Do from UQ’s School of Dentistry said the findings backed up the well-documented benefits of access to fluoride via drinking water.

Professor Do said Queensland in particular needed to take note of the research because 19 local government areas lacked fluoridated water – the worst coverage in the country.

He said the combination of no fluoride in the water supply combined with a diet high in sugar had the worst effect.

“We know that independently, those are important determinants for oral health, but we were interested to know how those two things worked together,” he said.

“The results show that when those two factors are both present, the risk of dental decay in children increases significantly.”

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