Objective. To describe the knowledge and beliefs on fluoridation of a commu
nity served by an unfluoridated water supply prior to consultation on imple
Methods: Telephone survey of a sample of residents and businesses utilising
semistructured questionnaires. Comparisons were made among responses of et
hnic and age groups.
Results. Residents were more conversant concerning fluoridation than busine
ss users. Knowledge and beliefs among ethnic groups differed significantly.
Younger persons and those who had never been married were less knowledgeab
le. Pamphlets supplied by water-provider organisations or health profession
als were the preferred methods of acquiring fluoridation information. The m
ajority of respondents wished the opportunity to express their views via a
referendum. Health authorities were the favoured decision-makers.
Conclusions and implications: Gaps were identified in this community's know
ledge on fluoridation with important differences based on ethnicity and age
. Strategies to inform the public on water fluoridation need to address the
se subgroup differences.