Successful fluoride plebiscite in the township of Deniliquin, New South Wales, Australia

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Abstract

Objectives:

This article describes the strategies adopted to influence the outcome of a plebiscite held in March 2004 in favor of water fluoridation in Deniliquin, a rural town in New South Wales, Australia.

Methods:

The health promotion strategies undertaken included the following: a) the skillful use of media to educate the community on the benefits of water fluoridation; b) disseminating contemporary local data to demonstrate oral health disparities with neighboring fluoridated townships; and c) a well-established lobbying machine to mobilize the community.

Results:

Out of a total population of 5,280 on the electoral roll, 4,539 residents voted, giving a response rate of 86 percent. The wording of the plebiscite was “Do you support the addition of fluoride to Deniliquin town water supply?” There were 2,533 “yes” votes (55.8 percent), 1,879 “no” votes (41.4 percent), and 127 spoiled votes (2.8 percent).

Conclusions:

The council resolved to implement water fluoridation and the residents received fluoridated water in January 2005.

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