A CONTROVERSIAL treatment could soon be introduced into North Somerset’s water supply in a bid to help combat childhood tooth decay.
NHS North Somerset is looking into putting fluoride in the district’s system.
Previous reports suggested that some of the most deprived areas could have missed out because of a ‘postcode lottery’ but the organisation’s public health director Dr Max Kammerling says health experts are now looking at rolling the scheme out across a wider area.
If the plans go ahead they could be implemented within two years.
Dr Kammerling said: “Fluoride has been found to be useful in reducing damage and decay to children’s teeth. It is one of the ways we could manage the problem.
“We have asked the Strategic Health Authority, the body legally empowered to take this forward, to see if this is a good thing to do.
“It is up to it now if it wants to take it further.
“Some people see it as inappropriate to add ‘chemicals’ to the water, but in some areas there is quite a high amount of fluoride in the water supply naturally already.
“They tend to have children with better teeth.
“But I think this is a good idea and a safe initiative to help improve oral health.
“The question that needs to be answered now though is ‘how much is it going to cost?'”
The idea of using fluoride in the district’s water supply was explained to North Somerset councillors at August’s health overview and scrutiny panel meeting.
The next phase of consultation is for the Strategic Health Authority to decide if it wants to carry out a feasibility study.
There would then be a public consultation before a final decision over the scheme is taken.