A HEALTH chief today insisted: Fluoride can help prevent tooth decay.
Jini D’Cruz, Consultant in Dental Public Health for NHS Kirklees, said that was one of the reasons why a special study has been commissioned to look at putting fluoride back into Huddersfield water supplies.
The additive was used in water supplies for some areas, including Newsome and Honley, up until 1988 but the treatment plant which served those areas then shut down.
Now a new study about the benefits and problems of fluoridation has been launched.
Ms D’Cruz said that the dental health of children in Kirklees is poor, especially in the more deprived communities.
“Among five-year-olds there are substantial differences in the oral health of children in the localities of Kirklees with a four-fold difference between the best and worst.
“In order to address these inequalities we have made sustained efforts to target oral health promotion and prevention programmes to communities or groups that would benefit the most.
“Our efforts seem to have had some impact; however the previous experience of parts of Huddersfield receiving fluoridated water during the 1970s and 1980s demonstrated that decay levels were lower then and fluoridation had benefits for deprived as well as more affluent communities”.
She said that on the basis of all the information made available, NHS Kirklees believed that fluoridation of the local water supply would bring valuable dental health benefits to its population. “We have therefore requested NHS Yorkshire and the Humber to commission a feasibility study to determine whether fluoridation of the local water supplies is technically possible and how much it would cost.
After that, a full public consultation could take place.
But the scheme is opposed.
A regional spokesman for the National Pure Water Association said: “Fluoridation in Yorkshire would require Yorkshire Water to medicate hundreds of thousands of its water customers without their individual, informed consent and would constitute an act of mass assault.
“Yorkshire Water should continue to protect its staff and investors by saying NO to any request by Yorkshire and Humber SHA to medicate its customers”.