Australian National Health and Medical Research Council systematic review (2007)

A systematic review published by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in 2007 examined the methods and conclusions of the earlier York (2000) and US Task Force (2002) reviews of the effectiveness of water fluoridation. (1)

Effects of starting fluoridation

The NHMRC said the York review showed the introduction of water fluoridation into an area:

  • significantly increased the proportion of caries-free children; and

  • reduced average numbers of decayed, missing and filled teeth among children with experience of decay, compared with areas which remained non-fluoridated over the same period.

Effects of stopping fluoridation

The NHMRC said that York’s findings suggested that cessation of fluoridation results in a narrowing of the differences in tooth decay levels between a community that stops fluoridating its water and a community that has never had fluoridation.

An effective and socially equitable measure for preventing tooth decay on a community-wide basis

The NHMRC concluded that the introduction of fluoridation was ‘strongly associated’ with a reduction in levels of decayed, missing and filled teeth and with an increase in the percentage of caries-free children.

In a statement following publication of its own review, the NHMRC said that water fluoridation was the “most effective and socially equitable means of achieving community-wide exposure to the caries prevention effects of fluoride.” (2)

The NHMRC Council reaffirmed this statement recently as June 2013.

  1. National Health and Medical Research Council (2007):  A systematic review of the efficacy and safety of fluoridation.  Australian Government.

  2. NHMRC Publlic Statement (2007): The efficacy and safety of fluoridation