March 2011

Volume 28, Issue 1

Community water fluoridation support and opposition in Australia

Authors: H.F. Akers J.M. Armfield
doi: 10.1922/CDH_2534Armfield07


Objective: To estimate the level of support for water fluoridation across Australia and examine the association between water fluoridation stance and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, commitment to the stance, and opinions, beliefs and knowledge regarding water fluoridation. Methods: Cross-sectional questionnaire data were obtained from 510 Australian adults (response rate = 34%) in 2008. Data were weighted by age, gender and state and territory estimated resident population. Main outcome measures: Participants were asked to rate the strength of their support for or opposition to water fluoridation on a 7-point scale. Results: Approximately 70% of survey respondents supported water fluoridation, 15.4% were opposed, and 14.5% were neutral. Those strongly opposed were most resistant to altering their opinion on the basis of new information or research. However, approximately 90% of people who were neutral, slightly supportive or moderately supportive would “maybe” or “definitely” change their stance. Fluoridation opposition was associated with lower income and educational attainment, more self-rated knowledge, and with beliefs about reduced benefits and greater harms. Opinions about who should be responsible for the introduction of water fluoridation and sources of information on fluoridation varied significantly by water fluoridation opinion. Conclusions: While this survey lends further weight to the evidence confirming extensive support for water fluoridation in Australia, a large percentage of the public may be open to changing their stance if presented with new information or research. To maintain the widespread acceptance of water fluoridation, it is important that the public are provided with unbiased and accurate interpretations of the continual stream of research related to fluorides and water fluoridation. Key words: Attitudes, beliefs, public opinion, support, water fluoridation


Other articles in this issue

Article Pages Access
Editorial 3-0 Download
Acknowledgement of Referees 4-0 Download
The caries experience of 5 year-old children in Scotland, Wales and England in 2007-2008 and the impact of consent arrangements. Reports of co-ordinated surveys using BASCD criteria 5-11 Download
The dilemma of selecting suitable proximal carious lesions in primary molars for restoration using ART technique. 12-16 Download
Using laser fluorescence (DIAGNOdent) in surveys for the detection of noncavitated occlusal dentine caries 17-21 Download
The prevalence of and risk factors for non-carious cervical lesions in adults in Hubei Province, China 22-28 Download
Pediatrician-recommended use of sports drinks and dental caries in 3-year-old children 29-33 Download
Estimating the potential impact on dental caries in children of fluoridating a UK city 34-39 Download
Community water fluoridation support and opposition in Australia 40-46 Download
Health-related lifestyle behaviours, socio-demographic charac-teristics and use of dental health services in Greek adults. 47-52 Download
Non-biological factors associated with tooth retention in Irish adults 53-59 Download
Short Communication - Actinic Cheilitis among agricultural workers in Campinas, Brazil 60-63 Download
Correlation between oral health perception and clinical factors in a Brazilian community 64-68 Download
Periodontal health and treatment needs among hospitalized chronic psychiatric patients in Istanbul, Turkey 69-74 Download
Oral hygiene and gingival health in Flemish pre-school children 75-81 Download
Comparison of the COHIP and OHIP- 14 as measures of the oral health-related quality of life of adolescents 82-88 Download
Assessment and comparison of periodontal status among young smokers and nonsmokers of Bangalore, India - a cross sectional study. 89-94 Download
Smoking and drinking habits and attitudes to smoking cessation counselling among Tanzanian dental students 95-98 Download
The success of fissure sealants placed by dentists and dental care professionals 99-103 Download
Traumatic dental injuries to primary incisors and the terminal or occlusal plane relationship in Indian preschool children 104-106 Download
Retrospective evaluation of the referral pattern to an oral medicine unit in Ireland 107-110 Download
Factors associated with Japanese dentists encouraging patients to use dental floss 111-115 Download
Teaching dental public health to undergraduates using community profiles and patient case studies 116-120 Download


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