“The NHS organisation responsible for the health of people in Southampton is very concerned that dental health in the city is amongst the worst in the country, and wants you to give your support in a public consultation on water fluoridation which begins today.
“Following extensive research, Southampton City Primary Care Trust (PCT) is supporting a scheme to top up the level of fluoride in the water to significantly improve the dental health of both children and adults locally.
“At present, the natural fluoride level in the city’s water is too low to provide any protection to teeth. By topping this up to just one part of fluoride in one million parts of water, we can achieve better dental health for everyone.
“This is a golden chance for Southampton’s children and adults to join the 5.5 million people in the UK and 350 million people worldwide currently benefiting from safe and effective fluoridation schemes.
“A shocking 42 per cent of children in the city have experienced dental decay and have an average of more than four decayed, missing or filled teeth. The figures also show that the children suffering most with problems with their teeth live in Southampton’s most deprived neighbourhoods, despite good NHS dentist access and continued oral health promotion.
“The West Midlands, including Birmingham, has been fluoridated for over 40 years and has achieved dramatic improvements in dental health. The area ranks amongst the best in the country for dental health. Only 23 per cent of children in South Staffordshire have experienced dental decay and these children have just over half the level of decay of Southampton children.
“A 2000 MORI poll showed that 71 per cent of the population in the West Midlands support water fluoridation as a means of reducing tooth decay.
“Studies from around the world suggest that following fluoridation, the average child is likely to have two fewer decayed teeth. Studies from the UK also show improvements in dental health for adults including less root surface decay.
“Respected, peer-reviewed scientific research and close monitoring of existing schemes in the UK and worldwide have not identified any serious health effects from drinking fluoridated water at the level of one part of fluoride per million parts of water (1ppm) recommended for Southampton and surrounding areas.
“Water fluoridation is supported by the Chief Medical Officer, Chief Dental Officer, British Medical Association, British Dental Association, Royal College of Physicians, World Health Organisation and many other prestigious medical and scientific organisations.
“I would urge everyone to support this public health measure which is an excellent opportunity for Southampton to improve the poor state of teeth locally. Let’s work together as a community to take Southampton to the top of the dental health league. The people of Southampton deserve no less.”