Support for community water fluoridation continues to gain momentum with the unveiling of a new web page supporting schemes in the North East of England (https://onepartpermillion.co.uk/north-east). The web page is part of the One Part Per Million campaign initiated and funded by the local dental committee movement and is in readiness for public consultations in 2020.
Local authorities in Northumberland and Durham have submitted formal letters to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, proposing the two new community water fluoridation schemes. The Durham scheme will cover Sunderland and South Tyneside.
At the heart of the website is research published in 2019 and carried out locally by members of the public health team which shows that nearly 40% of children living in deprived areas with non-fluoridated water have teeth which are decayed, missing or filled (dmft). This contrasts starkly with fluoridated areas, as well as more affluent areas, where the level is down to less than 10%.
The process that a local authority must undertake to achieve water fluoridation is lengthy and complex. A letter to the Secretary of State must be followed by a public consultation with the opportunity for local people to ask questions and express their views. Finally, a request is made to the water company to add enough fluoride to reach the optimum one part per million ratio.
*Original article, titled NE water fluoridation gains momentum, online at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41415-019-1078-9
A map showing the areas of Northumberland covered by the exisiting fluoridation scheme (in blue), and showing the areas proposed to be covered by the extension (in green). Pictures from Northumberland County Council