The Child Dental Health Survey, Australia (2002)

In 2007 the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare published a detailed analysis of data from a survey of just over 136,000 children conducted in 2002. (1)

Among children aged between four and ten, the average number of decayed, missing and filled primary teeth per child was higher in non-fluoridated areas than in fluoridated ones.  Relative differences in mean dmft rates between them ranged from 7.1% for 4-year olds to 65.8% for 7-year olds.

A similar pattern was found for permanent teeth among children aged between eight and 15.  Again, non-fluoridated areas had higher average levels of decayed, missing and filled teeth than fluoridated ones.  Differences in DMFT rates ranged from 12.7% for 11-year olds to 50.6% for 12-year olds.

Benefits for children from all socio-economic backgrounds

Large differences in the average number of decayed, missing and filled teeth were found between areas with differing concentrations of fluoride in drinking water for children from all socio-economic backgrounds.  Water fluoridation was associated with better dental health, regardless of whether children lived in the least or most disadvantaged areas.

1.  Armfield JM, Slade GD, Spencer AJ: Water fluoridation and children’s dental health.  The Child Dental Health Survey, Australia 2002.  Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2007

KEY FINDINGS

PRIMARY TEETH

Higher average rates of decayed, missing
and filled primary teeth in non-fluoridated
areas than fluoridated ones, with differences
ranging from around 7% among 4-year olds
to 66% among 7-year olds

PERMANENT TEETH

Higher average rates of decayed, missing
and filled secondary teeth in non-fluoridated
areas than fluoridated ones, with differences
ranging from around 13% among 11-year
olds to 51% among 12-year olds