PHE offers convincing proof on water fluoridation

A NEW report from Public Health England shows that water fluoridation helps reduce tooth decay and finds no convincing evidence of adverse health effects.

Water fluoridation: health monitoring in England 2018 report (produced on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care) found that 5-year-olds in areas with water fluoridation schemes were much less likely to experience tooth decay than in areas without schemes. The chances of having a tooth/teeth removed in hospital because of decay were also much lower in areas with water fluoridation schemes.

The study also found that children from all areas benefited from fluoridation, but children from relatively deprived areas benefited the most.

The report states that taken alongside existing wider research, our results do not provide convincing evidence of higher rates of hip fracture, Down’s syndrome, kidney stones, bladder cancer, or osteosarcoma (a cancer of the bone) due to fluoridation schemes.

The Oral Health Foundation is now calling on local authorities to use the report as a springboard to introduce water fluoridation schemes and help address the children's oral health crisis being experienced in England.

Speaking about the new report, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, said: "This is an exciting and comprehensive report from PHE which shows how water fluoridation is a highly effective, and safe, way of significantly reducing dental health inequalities across England and will reduce cases of childhood tooth decay across the country.

"The single biggest improvement to the oral health of Britain in recent years came with the introduction of fluoride in toothpastes and that can be eclipsed further with more water fluoridation schemes."