26 Feb

Dental charity supports push to expand water fluoridation in England

The Oral Health Foundation is supporting a push by NHS England to expand water fluoridation. 

The charity, along with the Community Water Fluoridation Network and NHS England, is campaigning to provide more people in England with access to fluoridated water. The organisations believe that fluoride exposure is one of the best ways to improve oral health standards and close gaps between affluent and deprived parts of the country. 

At present, around 6 million people in England have access to fluoridated water supplies, which equates to less than 10% of the population. Fluoride is a mineral, which can help to reduce the risk of decay by strengthening the enamel.

The Oral Health Foundation is particularly keen to open up access to fluoridated water supplies in communities where rates of childhood decay are high. Tooth decay is the most common cause of hospital admissions among children across the UK. Currently, 1 in 7 children under 3 have signs of decay. 

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, suggests that providing access to fluoridated water could potentially prevent thousands of children from developing decay, saving the NHS millions of pounds. Dr Carter said that he was “delighted” to see that NHS England, in partnership with the Community Water Fluoridation Network, was putting the issue of water fluoridation on the agenda again. Dr Carter also said that he was pleased to see MPs talking about the possibility of expanding the current programme. Research conducted over the last 60 years suggests that fluoridated water can help to lower rates of decay by 40%-60%. 

The charity is now hoping that government ministers and local authorities will support water fluoridation and that millions more people will benefit from community fluoridation schemes in the future.