Fluoride Action Network

Concerns water fluoridation plans could attract ‘conspiratorial minds’

Notts TV | Dec 13, 2023 | By Anna Whittaker
Posted on December 13th, 2023
Location: United Kingdom, England

Health bosses have been warned adding fluoride to Nottinghamshire’s water could be contentious with some residents despite research showing it prevents tooth decay.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which strengthens the outer surface of teeth, making them more resistant to decay.

It is added to dental products including many toothpastes, but can also be put into tap water so it reaches whole populations.

The World Health Organisation recommends water fluoridation as an “effective and safe public health intervention”.

Some areas of Nottinghamshire, including Mansfield, Bassetlaw,  Ashfield and some parts of Newark and Sherwood, already have fluoride in their tap water, and have done since the 1970s.

There is a campaign in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire for it to be added to the water across the region – but plans show it could take up to 10 years to implement.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care must agree to the implementation in order for it to go ahead.

The idea was discussed at the County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board meeting on December 13 but some councillors warned there will be opponents to the process.

Dr John Doddy (Con) chair of the board, said he had been contacted by those who did not support the move.

Opponents of flouridation have previously raised concerns over dental fluorosis – a brown discolouration which can appear on a child’s teeth if they are exposed to too much flouride.

The NHS says it is “uncommon” in the UK for fluorosis to be severe enough to seriously affect the appearance of teeth.

Deputy Director for Public Health for Nottinghamshire County Council Vivienne Robbins said: “We are at a really important moment to work collectively and work together.

“Our aim is to get a letter to the Secretary of State by early January.

“We can write to them to show our case around why we think we should be prioritised.

“We do need to be aware that this will be a journey, it could take at least 10 years to be successful.”

Cllr Tom Smith (Con) said: “Firstly I’m very on board with this.

“I perhaps naively hadn’t realised it could be up to 10 years as a process. At what point do we think we’ll be able to narrow that 10 years down?

“Just to reaffirm, this will excite those who are conspiratorially minded.

“I am very glad we are on it and we have clocked that.”

Ms Robbins replied: “We don’t have as much control over timescales, they secretary of state will have a defined budget in terms of fluoridation.

“How can you guys help us in terms of making sure our population are aware of the benefits of fluoridation?

“When you are getting legitimate questions, we can support you to confidently respond to those.”

Cllr Penny Gowland (Lab) said: “This is a really good idea. I absolutely support this however we know there will be some people who are concerned.

“It’s important to be ahead of that in explaining to people how this is positive and the long term problems of not doing it.

“There will be a level of pushback against it at some point, unfortunately.”

Dr Doddy replied: “We have been contacted by people who are not very keen on fluoridation, to put it mildly.

“We have a research crew who look constantly look for any adverse paperwork around fluoridation. It has been exceptionally well researched.”

A public consultation would need to be carried out in order to expand water fluoridation further.

*Original full-text article online at: https://nottstv.com/concerns-water-fluoridation-plans-could-attract-conspiratorial-minds/