Professor Michael Lennon OBE, from the School of Clinical Dentistry at the University of Sheffield, has called for water fluoridation to be a focal point of new preventative measures revealed by the Department of Health.
Recently, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced that he was implanting a plan for the NHS, which concentrates on prevention rather than cure. The measures will be included in a green paper, which will be launched in 2019. Mr Hancock is trying to shift the balance between investing in treatments and therapies and spending more on prevention. Currently, there’s a huge gulf in spending, and the MP believes that focusing on prevention will save the NHS substantial amounts of money, as well as reducing the number of deaths related to preventable risk factors.
Prof Lennon has backed Mr Hancock’s suggestions, and is now urging the government to consider water fluoridation as a measure to prevent decay and improve standards of oral health, especially in deprived areas. Mr Lennon, a former chair of the British Fluoridation Society, claimed that there needs to be an impetus on protecting childrens’ teeth, and used the example of conflict in Hull to demonstrate just how difficult it is to promote fluoridation at present. Hull and East Yorkshire’s Local Dental Committee has been trying to implement fluoridation for some time, but members have been faced with opposition.
Recently, MP Alan Johnson spoke out in favour of water fluoridation, and studies suggest that it is an effective measure, which fits in with the government’s desire to invest in prevention. Public Health England has released research suggesting that fluoridation provides an impressive return on investment.
Prof Lennon has also highlighted the need for more money to be made available for fluoridation, and suggested that the government encourage local authorities to be more open to supporting the use of fluoride.