DRINKING water in Ararat is to be fluoridated, Victoria's Acting Chief Health Officer, Professor Michael Ackland has announced.
"The dental health benefits of fluoridated water supplies are proven its use has been validated by medical and scientific research," Prof Ackland said.
"Research from Australia's peak health research and advice body, the National Health and Medical Research Council, confirms that fluoridation of drinking water remains the most effective and socially equitable way of providing all community members with the benefits of fluoride."
Currently 90 per cent of Victorians drink water with either naturally occurring or added fluoride. Melbourne and some regional centres have had fluoridated drinking water for almost 40 years.
Prof Ackland said the introduction of water fluoridation in non-fluoridated centres such as Ararat is a vital step towards improving the oral health of all Victorians.
Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water has been requested by the Secretary to the Department of Health to fluoridate the drinking water supply for Ararat.
A fluoridation plant will be built at the Ararat Water Treatment Plant and is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2015.
In Ararat water fluoridation is supported by East Grampians Health Service and Ararat Rural City.
More broadly community water fluoridation is supported by leading international and national organisations including the World Health Organisation, the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Dental Association and Australian Medical Association.
Prof Ackland said water fluoridation is safe and effective and helps protect everybody's teeth against decay regardless of age, gender, income or education levels.
"In particular, children who live in fluoridated areas of Victoria experience considerably less decay than those in non-fluoridated areas," he said.
"Residents of Ararat are encouraged to seek further information from their dentist, GP, pharmacist or maternal and child health nurse or through a special toll free information line."
Further information is available by calling 1800 651 723. Additional information about fluoridation is available by visiting www.health.vic.gov.au/water/fluoridation.
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