Health watchdogs and politicians have started a massive campaign to stop compulsory fluoridation of Scotland’s public water supplies.
They are bitterly opposed to the Scottish Executive’s plans to add fluoride to drinking water – despite research linking the chemical to Alzheimer’s Disease, cancer and brittle bones.
Anti-fluoridation campaigners, backed by leading politicians, say the chemical’s side effects far outweigh possible benefits.
But the executive says the status quo is not an option because hundreds of thousands of children in Scotland are suffering from rotten teeth.
Health officials say more than half the nation’s under-five-year-olds have bad teeth because of poor toothbrushing and their love of sweets and sugary drinks.
In the country’s more deprived areas such as parts of Glasgow, Paisley, Dundee and Edinburgh 60 per cent of children suffer from dental disease by the time they are three-years-old.
Holyrood ministers have been impressed with fluoridation in England where the level of tooth decay has been slashed by half.
But opposition politicians claim adding the chemical to supplies has caused unsightly mottling of teeth in England.
Mary Scanlon, the Tory health spokeswoman, said any move towards compulsory fluoridation had to be resisted.
She said:”There are too many concerns about the effects of fluoride for any government to take such a step.”