For more than 40 years, head-in-the sand campaigners have fought against fluoride being put in water supplies.
Yet the evidence shows that, where it is, it makes a huge difference to people’s dental health, particularly children.
Now, finally, Health Secretary Alan Johnson is going to give the go-ahead for it to be added to water.
Once again cries will be heard opposing the plan – “it is the nanny state at work”…”the benefits of fluoride are unproven”.
Both arguments are simply wrong. Fluoride makes a real difference, which is particularly important for the nation’s dental health when we eat and drink more sugary foods than ever, not to mention the chronic shortage of dentists.
There is no proof that fluoride does any harm and a lot that it does good. The only people who benefit by not adding it to water supplies are dentists, because they get more work. And even they support the plan.
It is incredible that the prevarication has gone on for so many decades. Even now, health chiefs can say no.
But Mr Johnson is to be congratulated for taking a step which will do more for the nation’s dental health than anything since the creation of NHS dentists.