UK government under pressure about lack of water fluoridation
LONDON, UK: Currently, six million people in the UK are supplied with fluoridated water, and around 300,000 are supplied with water which contains naturally occurring fluoride. In a recent call to action, the Oral Health Foundation has asked the UK government to step up its efforts to expand the areas of fluoridation across the country.
The current state of the UK’s general oral health is well below an acceptable level, and the Oral Health Foundation, along with NHS England and the Community Water Fluoridation network, believes that community water fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure for improving the oral health of children and tackling oral inequality among disadvantaged communities.
Recently, pressure has been put on the UK government by the British Dental Association about the lack of funding for dentistry within the NHS, and the newly elected government will have to address the issue of water fluoridation. “We’re delighted that NHS England and the Community Water Fluoridation network, along with several MPs, are raising the issue of water fluoridation again,” said Dr Nigel Carter, OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation.
In the UK, tooth extractions remain the number one reason for hospital admissions of 5- to 9-year-olds. However, some studies, such as the 2017 technical report titled A Complete Waste of Money! Water Fluoridation Costs for England, 2013–2021, have concluded that better gains could be made by cutting the water fluoridation programme and diverting some of the finance to targeted sustainable and effective oral health initiatives.
However, in a comment unrelated to the aforementioned study, the Oral Health Foundation noted that, while the fluoridation of water supplies would not completely solve the problem, it would make a significant impact in turning the tide on children’s oral health.