Neil Carmichael, Chair of the ADG has welcomed the announcement today by the Secretary of State for Health of plans for “streamlining the process for the fluoridation of water in England by moving responsibilities for doing so from local authorities to central government.” as part of the NHS reforms in the White Paper published today (link here).
“This is a significant moment as water fluoridation is probably the single most important step any Government can take in protecting the country’s oral health.”
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 across the country.
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. It is estimated by the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry that water fluoridation could reduce this by as much as two thirds in the most deprived areas (link here).
Neil Carmichael, Chair of the Association of Dental Groups added:
“It is widely accepted that water fluoridation is the most effective measure that can be taken to prevent dental disease. Only a tenth of the UK has access to fluoridated water showing that the previous approach was not working. We welcome the proposals outlined today as a clear resolution by the Government to take action on water fluoridation.”
“Moving a focus onto flexible commissioning and preventative measures is one way the Government 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. The next step must now be wider flexible commissioning of services to help those most in need.”