Health chiefs across the East Midland have launched a new study to see if adding fluoride to the water supply will help boost dental health across the region.
As part of a national drive to boost dental hygiene, a new feasibility study has been commissioned to ascertain the benefits and disadvantages of water fluoridation.
Among those taking part in the research is the Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust who said the results of the study should be published in six months’ time.
Each individual PCT will then analyse those results and decide if fluoridation is likely to have any benefit on oral health.
Derbyshire County PCT said no decision will be made on the fluoridation of Derbyshire water until this process has been complete, and this would include a full, formal public consultation.
However, chiefs explained there is no a guarantee the process would get that far.
Some Derbyshire areas already have extra fluoride in their water and a spokesperson said it is important to note fluoride is found naturally in water and, in Ogston in Derbyshire in particular, is at a high natural level.
The Bolsover district, which is supplied by Severn Trent water, has had fluoridated water since 1971. This covers about 75% of the district, and parts of north-east Derbyshire, but not Bolsover town itself.
In the South Derbyshire district, adjacent to Burton on Trent, some 22,000 homes receive fluoridated water from the South Staffs water board, and have done so since 1987.
Ken Wragg, consultant in dental public health for Derbyshire Primary Care Trust, said: “Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust has committed to working with other primary care trusts in the East Midlands to commission a feasibility study and economic evaluation of water fluoridation across the region.