DENTAL experts have reignited the controversy over fluoride by calling on ministers to add it to Scotland’s water supplies to tackle “unacceptably poor” oral health.
Latest figures show progress has been made, but more than 50 per cent of primary seven children north of the Border are suffering tooth decay.
Andrew Lamb, director for Scotland at the British Dental Association (BDA), said it was a “preventable disease”. He said: “In Scotland, there remain communities in which oral health remains unacceptably poor and young children are having teeth extracted as a result.
“The Childsmile scheme is doing good work in providing advice and encouragement about oral health and encouraging good habits among those it engages, but the benefit of water fluoridation is that it reaches everyone in the area it targets. The benefits can be seen in fluoridated Birmingham, where five-year-olds enjoy far better oral health than their peers in non-fluoridated Manchester.”
He added: “The BDA will be lookin g to the Government elected in May to consult communities that would benefit from its introduction.”
Dr Lamb welcomed the recently published dental workforce review, which showed the dental health o f 11- to 12-year-olds has significantly improved in recent years. A national target for 60 per cent of children to have no obvious dental decay by 2010 was reached a year early.
A spokesman for Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government was “not convinced by the need for fluoridation”.