Officials want 40 per cent of England’s water supply to be fluoridated to reduce high levels of tooth decay.
Dentists leaders believe that adding the chemical to the water supply could radically improve the condition of people’s teeth, particularly in deprived areas.
Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, also backed the introduction of more fluoride into the water supply earlier this year.
Currently only around 10 per cent of all tap water has fluoride added, mainly in parts of the West Midlands and the North East.
In an interview with a dental magazine the chief dental officer for England suggested that proportion could increase four fold.
Dr Barry Cockcroft told Dental Tribune magazine: “We only need to fluoridate 40 per cent of the country.
Greater Manchester is currently considering it and there are many other areas that are looking at it.”
He also went on to dismiss what he described as “scaremongering” over the chemical and those campaigners who claim that it can cause cancer.
He suggested that there would be more court cases over the use of fluoride in water supplies if it did have negative health effects.
“A total of 170 million people in America drink fluoridated water and it is the most litigious country in the world,” he told the magazine.
But anti-fluoride campaigners accused the Government of planning to run roughshod over individual rights by backing the introduction of a “medicine” into the water supply.
John Graham, from the National Pure Water Association, said: “This medication is carried out by water companies without the individual consent of their customers.
“Fluoridation should cease immediately as it violates the right to refuse consent to a medical intervention.”
Anti-fluoride groups claim that the chemical has been linked to cases of bone cancer and brittle bone disease and that it can even damage the teeth it is supposed to protect.
Dr Cockcroft denied that there was a secret plan to add fluoride to water supplies.
He said:”By law, no new fluoridation scheme can be introduced unless local people have been consulted and have indicated that they are in favour.
“The Government’s 2005 Oral Health Strategy for England advises the NHS to consider introducing water fluoridation in areas with poor oral health and where local communities support it.”
He added, however, that dental decay was much worse in poorer communities than affluent ones and that fluoridation “reduces these inequalities”.