In the early 1960s, before Australia’s drinking water supplies began fluoridation, Australians had very poor oral health with the average number of decayed, missing or filled teeth (DMF) in 15-year-olds was 16 (that’s 50% of the 32 permanent teeth humans usually have.)
Average tooth loss of Australians before fluoridation was extreme with 50% of adults over the age of 40 wearing full upper and lower dentures.
This was the key reason why, fifty years ago, the founders of DHA established its predecessor, the Dental Health Education and Research Foundation.
In August 2006, Dental Health Australia was formed to increase public awareness of the fact that the mouth is the ‘Gateway to the Body’.
As of March 2012, artificially fluoridated drinking water is provided for 70% or more of the population in all states and territories, resulting in the dramatic reduction of the number of decayed, missing or filled in teeth in 15-year-olds from 16 to two.
However, there is still much work to be done as 27% of adults over 65 have no natural teeth.
Nature intended teeth and bones to last a lifetime. Teeth are the hardest elements of the body but they do not receive the care and attention they deserve from our community.