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Water fluoridation welcomed

2 July 2019

Water fluoridation welcomed

The dental profession has applauded local authorities that are taking forward water fluoridation.

The national conference of Local Dental Committees which represents more than 25 thousand NHS dentists working in high street practices is supporting community water fluoridation in areas of need. A motion applauding those local authorities taking forward water fluoridation has been approved unanimously.

The vote is an important milestone for the newly formed Community Water Fluoridation network. The network’s role is to make sure that public consultations are informed by scientific evidence and accurate representation of the needs of families in their locality.

Local Dental Committee members have provided the impetus for the network which is supported by a wide range of dental, medical, child and health-related organisations. Among them are NHS England, the British Fluoridation Society, the National Children’s Bureau, the British Dental Association, the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry and the Association of Dental Groups.

Simon Hearnshaw, a dentist who works for Health Education England, and who put forward the motion, said: “To have this kind of unanimous response from dentists highlights just how strongly we all support fluoridation of water and want to see the oral health of our young patients improve.”

Water fluoridation is approved by parliament but since 2012, local authorities which want to implement the public health measure must first carry out a public consultation.

The network is at the ready to put forward dental and medical spokespeople from local communities who will answer questions and describe the dental challenges they are dealing with almost daily and the difference water fluoridation could make. They will be ready to attend events and meetings over the course of the consultations so that there is consistent dental representation.

In 2016-17, more than 42,000 hospital admissions in England were for the extraction of decayed teeth, mostly in very young children, who cannot be treated in general practice, costing more than £50m. Areas where water is not fluoridated have a disproportionately higher number of children suffering from dental decay.

Six million people in the UK live in areas where the water supply is fluoridated and a further one third of a million live in areas where the water has naturally occurring fluoride. Water fluoridation is supported by:

  • The World Health Organisation
  • The British Medical Association
  • The British Dental Association
  • The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Federation Dentaire Internationale
  • International Association of Dental Research
  • Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons
  • Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK)
  • The Oral Health Foundation
  • The World Health Assembly.

Public Health England says fluoridation 'is an effective and safe public health measure to reduce the prevalence and severity of dental caries, and reduce dental health inequalities'.

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