Scheme for water fluoridation accepted in Southampton

March 5, 2009 News, Lifestyle, News

Fluoridated water has been known for many years to confer a significant advantage over non-fluoridated water for demonstrating a beneficial impact on dental health. In 2005-6 the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry (BASCD) surveyed 5yr olds dental health and discovered fluoridated water was provided to six out of the top ten places in Britain with the lowest degree of tooth decay. Children in South Staffordshire showed the best dental health where fluoridated water is routinely provided.

Southampton, where fluoridated water is currently not provided shows a worryingly high level of tooth decay with up to 42% of 5yr old children experiencing dental decay. 2,900 teeth were extracted under general anaesthetic from 520 children in Southampton during 2007 reinforcing the severity of this issue.

South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) has decided to proceed with their proposed scheme to fluoridate water in Southampton and parts of South-West Hampshire after a staggering 10,000 responses were received following a public consultation. The British Dental Association (BDA) applauds this decision.

Professor Damien Walmsley, BDA Scientific Advisor commented on the proposed plan saying, “We look forward to the day when we see fewer children in Southampton having to endure the pain and discomfort of decayed teeth or the trauma of having a tooth extracted as a result of adopting this initiative. We believe that fluoridation is a safe and effective method of reducing dental decay and oral health inequalities”.

It is hoped that following the decision in South Central, which will directly affect 193,000 people other SHAs in England will follow suit launching their own consultations. The consultations will result in water companies being compelled to fluoridate water if such a proposal is accepted with the hope to provide better dental health for the entire country.