Fluoride Action Network

Hull public health officials ‘slow to react’ over introducing fluoride varnish to battle tooth decay

Source: Hull Daily Mail | June 15th, 2015 | By Allison Coggan
Location: United Kingdom, England

PUBLIC health officials have been urged to introduce fluoride varnish to prevent tooth decay in children after the scheme proved a success in Scotland.

Hull City Council is conducting a feasibility study into the effectiveness of fluoride varnish applied to the teeth of children in the city’s most deprived areas.

However, the Local Dental Network, the Local Dental Committee (LDC) and dental care project Teeth Team say the study is a waste of time and public money as Scotland has already proved the scheme results in a sharp fall in tooth decay.

Chris Groombridge, chairman of Teeth Team and secretary of the LDC, said: “It appears the public health department at the council is being slow to act.

“At the moment, it appears to be reluctant to introduce fluoride varnish when there have been numerous national studies showing its effectiveness.

“The council knows the number of children in the schools in the most socially deprived ten wards in Hull. The council knows what the cost is for the application of fluoride varnish on child’s teeth – 44p per child per year for two applications of fluoride varnish.

“Once again, we ask the council to include community fluoride varnish into the draft oral health plan for Hull, not just a feasibility plan.”

Scotland has saved £5m by introducing the Childsmile project in nurseries and primary schools in the country’s most deprived areas.

Children aged five to 12 are given free toothbrushes, toothpaste and have two fluoride varnish applications to their teeth per year.

Results show the number of children in Primary One with no decay has risen from 54 per cent in 2006 to 68 per cent last year, and the oral health of 11-year-olds has never been better.

Mr Groombridge said there are growing concerns a £200m cut in public health funding, announced by Chancellor George Osborne, could further delay the introduction of a scheme in Hull.

He said: “We feel this makes implementation of a community fluoride varnish programme even more important as it is evidence based in its effectiveness and costs very little compared to other interventions.

“What matters is what works and it is time to learn from Scotland.”

Hull City Council was approached by the Mail but was unable to comment.