Fluoride Action Network

Isle of Man to consider water fluoridation in childhood oral health plan

Dentistry | Sept 25, 2023
Posted on September 25th, 2023
Location: Isle of Man

The Isle of Man will look into the benefits of water fluoridation as part of its integrated plan to tackle the issue of children’s oral health on the island.

Published on 20 September, Amalgamated Implementation Plan for Dental Strategy and Oral Health Strategyincorporates strategies such as increased access to dentists and the introduction of a supervised toothbrushing scheme. It will be laid before the Tynwald at their October sitting.

The plan also includes further research into the benefits of water fluoridation. In June, Tynwald members voted in favour of producing a research paper into water fluoridation. This will now be considered by the Council of Ministers by the end of 2023.

The strategies were based on recommendations made by The Social Affairs Policy Review committee in January. It was determined that action was needed after investigation revealed 3,014 Manx people were waiting for NHS dentistry. Of those waiting for access to the Isle of Man’s 12 dental practices, 780 were children.

The committee described hospital admissions of Manx children for tooth extractions as ‘remarkably high’, emphasising that this was ultimately ‘preventable’.

Reducing tooth decay

Water fluoridation was put forward as a cost-effective alternative to fluoride varnish by Isle of Man Health Minister Lawrie Hooper. However, twice-annual varnish treatments for children under 11 have thus far been included as part of the integrated plan.

The benefits of water fluoridation have been acknowledged for some time, with local authorities consulting on its introduction since 2013.

In 2022, Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said: ‘We believe that water fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure there is for reducing oral health inequalities and tooth decay rates, especially amongst children.

‘We welcome these proposals and believe they represent an opportunity to take a big step forward in not only improving this generation’s oral health, but those for decades to come.’

*Original full-text article online at: https://dentistry.co.uk/2023/09/25/isle-of-man-to-consider-water-fluoridation-in-childhood-oral-health-plan/