Research will be carried out on the impact of water fluoridation on reducing tooth decay in children.

Tynwald members supported the move by public health at the June sitting in a combined vote after the issue split the court the previous month.

It was put forward in an amendment by Health Minister Lawrie Hooper as a potentially more cost-effective alternative to fluoride varnish.

That had been suggested by a committee exploring children’s oral health.

The public health directorate will now prepare a research paper, which will be considered by the Council of Ministers by December 2023.

The amendment tasked the body with “exploring fluoridation of water, the effects this may have on the population”.

It also included looking at “to what extent it would reduce levels of tooth decay and whether it would be a more efficient and effective way of preventing tooth decay in children than targeted fluoride varnish application”.

The report and any conclusions and recommendations is due to be placed on the Tynwald register in February next year.

he Social Affairs Policy Review Committee’s investigation found there were about 780 children waiting to be registered at one of the island’s 12 dental practices, with moves to address that partly hindered by a lack of dentists.

The island also had “remarkably high” hospital admission figures among Manx children for tooth extractions, it said.

The committee had put forward seven recommendations, including the offer of twice yearly fluoride varnish applications to all pre and primary school age children to reduce levels of decay.

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