The call from Britain’s top dental body for Holyrood to add fluoride to Scotland’s water must be strongly resisted.
The British Dental Association (BDA) claims adding this chemical to our water would help to fight the appalling tooth decay still prevalent in some parts of Scotland. However, even by its own admission, the dental health of 11-12 year-olds has improved dramatically in recent years. In fact, the BDA’s national target of 60 per cent of children with no tooth decay by 2010 was reached by 2009.
The problem, according to the BDA, appears to be mainly centred on areas of multiple deprivation, where young children with poor dental hygiene are suffering high levels of tooth decay and are still having to have teeth removed. If this is the case, then the Scottish Government must do more to focus on these areas and, through education and the provision of free dental care, seek to improve oral health.
It would be a great pity if the whole of Scotland was to have chemicals added to its water supply to tackle a problem that is relatively isolated. We have a unique reputation in Scotland for the purity of our water. Let us not undermine this in a knee-jerk response to the BDA’s demands.