ADG welcomes Government support for water fluoridation

Neil Carmichael, Chair of the ADG has welcomed the comments in the House of Lords last week by Government Health Minister Lord Bethell that “We have also set out our support for water fluoridation and we intend to announce further details of our water fluoridation plans shortly.” (link here)

The Covid-19 pandemic and the cancellation of routine appointments, treatments and supervised toothbrushing programmes has highlighted the need more than ever for the introduction of preventative measures such as water fluoridation.

Thousands of children could soon require hospital operations to remove unsavable teeth due to the pandemic. Before the pandemic, hospitals in England already carried out an average 177 operations a day on children and teenagers last year to remove teeth, costing the NHS more than £40m. Lockdown will make the problem significantly worse as many children have stopped going to the dentist and community dental services which normally deliver child oral health improvement programmes through Local Authorities have been disrupted. These are early intervention, preventative programmes in areas of likely poor child oral health.

Neil Carmichael, Chair of the Association of Dental Groups said:

“Dentists have already expressed concern over ‘lockdown diets’ including more sugary treats and fizzy drinks are having an adverse effect on children’s oral health. One survey for a member of ADG found that 77% of dentists expected the ‘lockdown diet’ to have an adverse impact on the nation’s oral health.”

“It is now clear that the current backlog in dentistry will continue well into next year and moving a focus onto flexible commissioning and preventative measures is one way we can limit and recover the damage to the nation’s oral health in the future. Water fluoridation requires no behaviour change and the evidence shows it is highly effective in reducing dental decay and delivers the most benefit to the deprived.”

The case for water fluoridation has never been stronger and I am pleased to see the Government express their support for it. I hope action will soon follow.”