No action will be taken in response to research into adding fluoride into Manx water, the government has confirmed.

A report by public health officials found the approach would be an “effective and safe” way to reduce tooth decay but more data needed to be gathered before further considerations.

It was compiled in the wake of a Social Affairs Policy Review Committee investigation into children’s oral health, which tasked the public health directorate with producing a research paper.

The Council of Ministers has now confirmed that “no policy position or further action will be taken at this time”.

But a government spokesman said work would continue to address other Tynwald-approved recommendations, such as the Smile of Mann supervised tooth-brushing programme, which has continued in the island’s pre-schools and has been extended to primary schools.

An integrated plan which aims to improve oral health for children has been published and an epidemiology study of five-year-old children is planned for April, he said.

Campaigns would continue to run throughout the year to help reduce tooth decay for people of all ages, he said.

Complementary strategy

Interim director of public health protection Caryn Cox said plans to improve oral health on the Isle of Man would “require collaboration across government”.

Work had already begun with Manx Care and the Department of Education, Sport and Culture in “key areas”, she said.

She highlighted a statement from four UK chief medical officers within the report, which said any water fluoridation scheme should be seen as a “complementary strategy” to effective methods of increasing fluoride use.

“Brushing your teeth thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste is one of the most effective ways of preventing tooth decay, and is the focus of the Smile of Mann programme,” she added.

The water fluoridation research paper has been published on the register of business and will be laid before Tynwald later this month.

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