22 Jan 2014

Blackpool - Getting teeth into milk plan

Tooth decay in children
Town hall bosses are set to 
approve plans to introduce milk containing fluoride into Blackpool’s schools when they meet next week.
The executive committee is being recommended to accept the proposal, which would be introduced as part of the 
council’s free breakfasts for primary school pupils.
But the council will still speak to parents about whether they want to opt out of the scheme, with sessions due to be held during January, February and March.
Health chiefs first put forward the idea of fluoridated milk, also known as dental milk, last August to tackle high levels of tooth decay among the resort’s children.
The dental health of youngsters in the town is among the worst in the country, with more than one in three five-year-olds having at least one unhealthy tooth.
By the time they reach the age of 12, the figure increases to 43 per cent, according to official figures.
Coun Sarah Riding, cabinet member for health, said: “The issue for us is that unfortunately children’s teeth in Blackpool are some of the worst in the country.
“Introducing fluoride would not be something that happens in isolation – we would continue with all our initiatives in schools around brushing teeth etc.”
If councillors vote to go ahead with the proposals when they meet next Monday, at 6pm at the town hall, it would not be introduced until the next school year at the earliest, and parents would have the choice to opt out if they did not wish their child to have dental milk.
The scheme is not expected to cost more than it currently costs to provide regular school milk and the council is currently re-tendering for the service.
Coun Riding urged parents to attend the information sessions.
She added: “There is lots of scaremongering that goes on when changes like this are proposed, so I think it is important parents and carers of children do go along to the information sessions and find out as much as they can.”
Consultation has already taken place with headteachers who are “generally in favour” according to a report to the executive. But some campaigners have warned against the move.
Doug Cross, of UK Councils Against Fluoridation, claims there is no sound scientific evidence it would help reduce tooth decay, and says the council should invest in school dental services instead.

No comments: