The issue may have been around for years, but the strength of feeling on both sides of the argument shows no sign of waning. The mere mention of fluoridation leads to a huge outpouring of public reaction, with both sides firmly entrenched. While the anti-fluoride campaigners see the plans as an entirely unacceptable infringement of their right to choose what they and their families consume, those pushing for an improvement in the nation’s dental health see it as a practical step towards achieving that goal.
Indeed, figures released at the weekend revealed that children in Leicestershire have some of the worst teeth in the East Midlands. In the British Dental Association’s “list of shame”, county youngsters are beaten only by Nottinghamshire for their poor levels of dental health.
It would be easy to disregard these figures as pure pro-fluoridation propaganda. However, we must not. It is clear that serious problems exist in the state of this nation’s dental health – and we have seen few, if any, improvements over the years. If we are serious about the future of our children’s teeth, we must be prepared to take real steps to turn this situation around. Tackling unhealthy diets and improving health education for children is a start.
However, the big question remains: is fluoridation the way ahead? As our readers have told us time and again, having fluoride on tap is more than just an issue of health. It verges on freedom of choice – and we all must retain that.