The biggest review yet of the effects of fluoridation in water shows without a doubt it is not harmful.
The naturally occurring mineral has been accused of being a covert agent capable of causing cancer, subduing the masses, and lowering IQ levels yet a 60-year review by the National Health and Medical Research Council found no evidence of any harm.
In fact, the only effect shown among Australians drinking fluoridated water was a 26 to 44 percent reduction in cavities for children, teenagers and adults.
Which is exactly why it's added to the water source in the first place.
Chief executive Anne Kelso said the evidence was clear.
"It confirms water fluoridation has a positive impact on tooth decay and that the levels used in Australia, there are no other health effects or harm," Kelso said.
Fluoride was introduced to most Australian capital cities in the 1960s and 70s and Kelso said Australians born since 1970 had about half the level of tooth decay compared to their parent's generation.
When was fluoride introduced in Australian cities?
1964 -- Canberra and Hobart
1968 -- Sydney and Perth
1971 -- Adelaide
1972 -- Darwin
1977 - Melbourne
2008 -- Brisbane
The draft information paper found evidence consistently showed no link between water fluoridation at Australian levels and cancer, IQ or cognitive function of children or adults.
It did, however show fluoride exposure sometimes caused "very mild or mild" small white lines on the tooth surface called dental fluorosis, which often disappeared with age.
The council's Fluoride Reference Group associate director Clive Wright said that while there had been a dramatic decline in tooth decay, 42 percent of young children and 64 percent of older children have experienced tooth decay.
"Tooth decay is one of the most common and easily preventable health problems in Australia," Wright said.
"It can cause pain, suffering, difficulty eating and sleeping and make people feel unhappy about their appearance."
So why are there pockets of society that believe fluoride is dangerous? Wright said it was inevitable.
"I think there will always be difference of opinion about anything, especially that relates to individual Vs collective activities," Wright said.
He also said fluoride at very high levels were potentially harmful at concentrations greater than 50 milligrams per litre but in the Australian water supply was one part per million.
"Like a lot of elements in nature, at certain levels, it can be beneficial and at higher levels, it can be harmful," Wright said.Suggest a correction