A statement issued by all four of the UK’s Chief Medical Officers yesterday, has publicly highlighted the benefits of water fluoridation in reducing dental caries.
The ‘Statement on water fluoridation from the UK Chief Medical Officers’ issued by the Department of Health, prompted The Times to declare “Millions of people across the country will soon have fluoride added to their drinking water after Britain’s chief medical officers concluded that it would cut tooth decay.”
The Times went further and said the Health Secretary Sajid Javid “is understood to be keen to press ahead with adding “the mineral” to the water supply and will gain powers to do so across England.”
The newspaper said England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has “dismissed safety concerns over the compounds, saying there is no evidence that it causes cancer and condemning ‘exaggerated and unevidenced claims’ about health risks.’
In February, Mr Javid’s predecessor Matt Hancock announced a draft bill entitled ‘Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all.’
It laid out plans for the government to take over responsibility for the funding and implementation of water fluoridation schemes from local councils, putting it in a position to drive forward and implement schemes.
The CMO’s said that a report by Public Health England found that water fluoridation can substantially reduce hospital admissions for tooth extraction.
The report said “If all 5-year-olds with drinking water with less than 0.2 mg/l fluoride instead received at least 0.7mg/l from a fluoridation scheme, then the number experiencing caries would be lower.”
“The decline would be 17% in the least deprived areas, rising to 28% in the most deprived, and the number of hospital admissions for tooth extractions in children and young people is estimated to reduce by 45 to 68%.”
The CMO’s concluded that “On balance, there is strong scientific evidence that water fluoridation is an effective public health intervention for reducing the prevalence of tooth decay and improving dental health equality across the UK.”
“It should be seen as a complementary strategy, not a substitute for other effective methods of increasing fluoride use.”
The British Fluoridation Society (BFS) welcomed the CMO’s statement confirming that water fluoridation is an effective public health intervention.
In a statement received by GDPUK, Dr Barry Cockcroft CBE and BFS chair, said: “We welcome today’s important statement. It confirms that water fluoridation schemes are safe and effective and that they have a positive impact on tackling completely avoidable oral health inequalities in children and adults across the UK.
“We have been campaigning on this issue for many years and it is great to see it back on the table. Community water fluoridation schemes positively benefit all ages, both children and the increasing number of older people retaining their teeth into later life.
“The ability to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce cavities with the simple addition of fluoride to water is a powerful and cost effective tool, along with other preventive measures.”
The British Dental Association also welcomed he joint statement.
BDA News said “The BDA fully supports community water fluoridation as a safe and effective public health intervention, as part of a package of measures to improve dental health, where technically feasible and appropriate for local needs.”
“The Health and Care Bill, currently before Parliament, is set to simplify the rollout of the policy in England. Dentist leaders are now urging all 4 UK administrations to restate their positions on water fluoridation in light of the statement.”
“The four UK CMOs recognise water fluoridation should be seen as a complementary strategy, and not a substitute for regular dental check-ups and other effective methods of increasing fluoride use.”
“The BDA backs a joined-up approach in which tried and tested policies like water fluoridation and supervised tooth brushing in early years settings are expanded, with parallel effort applied to rebuilding high street dental services.”
Dr Eddie Crouch, BDA Chair told BDA News “Every dentist will thank the CMOs for recognising the lasting benefits water fluoridation could bring to the nation’s oral health.
“However, these gains are purely theoretical without upfront investment. Spending here will pay for itself, and Ministers need to show they are willing to seize the moment.
“We need a joined-up approach. COVID has left millions unable to access care, and deep inequalities are now set to widen. The four Governments must double down on tried and tested policies while rebuilding the services millions depend on.”
While the CMO’s statement was welcomed by the BDA and BFS, the reaction to Mr Javid’s tweet about the Government’s fluoridation plans from Twitter users suggested that pushing through fluoridation won’t be without vociferous opposition.
One user replied to the Secretry of State “Possible legal case here for intent to cause actual bodily harm! Fact: Fluoride is a poison Fact: Fluoride long term causes/contributes to degradation of teeth! Plus water contamination with “fluoride”, can cause other disruptive effects on the human biological processes!”
Another user wrote “Fluoride is a known neuro-toxin and carcinogen. Aren’t you killing enough people??”
Another replied “Is there no limit to the poisons this government will push into people?”
Several took the opportunity to make a point about NHS access.
One dentist joked
Even the Green Party in the UK opposes water fluoridation.
An archived article on the Green Party’s website, is entitled “Mass medication is an affront to our civil liberties.”
Cllr Martin Love wrote “We oppose fluoridation for three basic reasons: Its supposed benefits are based on unsound medical science It is harmful to humans, animals, and the environment It defies all common medical ethics.”
?*Original article online at https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/4057-fluoridation-statement-welcomed-by-professionals-opposed-by-sceptics