Hull’s health and wellbeing board is considering water fluoridation in an attempt to improve the dental health of children after figures showed young people in the city have more fillings and decay than most other parts of the country.
However, the plan has already attracted major opposition, with campaigners claiming it is “mass medication without consent”.
Now, the health scrutiny commission at Hull City Council has called for all papers surrounding fluoridation to be considered by its councillors before plans are approved by the health and wellbeing board.
Councillor Danny Brown, who chairs the commission at the Guildhall, said: “It is a very emotive subject.
“There are a lot of people totally against fluoridation, while there are other people who think it should have been instigated years ago.
“We need all the information we can get in order for us to comment on it.”
The health and wellbeing board, chaired by Councillor Colin Inglis, is considering fluoridation as part of its plan to improve the oral health of children in the city.
Cllr Inglis has declared the evidence for the introduction of water fluoridation is “incontrovertible” and has said: “Adding fluoride to the water supply has major benefits to oral health and, while it may take some time, I am fully behind the proposal.”
He and former Health Secretary Alan Johnson, Labour candidate for Hull West and Hessle in the forthcoming general election, have met dentists in the city to discuss the plans.
They have already voiced their support for the addition of fluoride to the water supply and say evidence backs claims that it has a marked improvement on oral health.
However, campaigners are already mounting a challenge to the plans after expressing concerns over the impact of water fluoridation on health.
Councillor John Abbott, a member of the scrutiny commission, said: “Councillor Inglis might have a very strong social view on this, but we need the science, too. We need to know what the risks are.”
The commission has recommended the next report, due to outline the options for improving oral health, should be presented to its councillors first before it is presented to the health and wellbeing board.
Tooth decay in kids
Bt the age of five, more than four in ten children in Hull have tooth decay.
A survey by Public Health England survey found 43.4 per cent of five-year-olds in the city have tooth decay, compared with the national average of 28 per cent.
Almost 700 children had to have teeth taken out under general anaesthetic between October 2012 and December 2013.
A further 21 children who were just two years old had decayed teeth extracted under general anaesthetic.