The faculty’s dean, Prof Nigel Hunt, said: “One of the biggest problems that comes out in the document is the inequality in terms of oral health up and down the country and providing water fluoridation is one way of overcoming that. We know it’s of proven benefit.”
Despite also winning the support of the British Dental Association, adding flouride at one part per million, in an effort to reduce tooth decay, has proved a controversial issue.
In Hampshire, plans to add fluoride to the water supply were scrapped in the face of opposition from the local authorities and the public. Opponents claim that it can be unsafe and forcible medication. But the PHE report that Hunt referred to examined the comparative rates of hip fractures, kidney stones, cancers, Down’s syndrome births and all-cause mortality and found no difference, concluding that there was “no evidence of harm to health in fluoridated areas”.
As well as fluoridation in water, the RCS wants the government to invest in a national oral health programme, similar to Childsmile in Scotland. The £1.8m Scottish scheme, which includes supervised toothbrushing for children in primary school and nursery in deprived areas has saved more than £6m in dental costs between 2001 and 2010. The RCS, which represents around 4,500 specialist dentists, also wants awareness raised on the impact of sugar on tooth decay and for the government to ensure that all children with advanced tooth decay have timely access to specialist paediatric services.
“We are talking about a relatively small amount of money that will provide life-long benefit,” said Hunt. “If oral health isn’t tackled as a child, there is growing evidence there will be problems later in life.”
Chief dental officer Barry Cockcroft said dental health had improved dramatically over the past 10 years “We strongly encourage parents to take their children for regular dental check-ups - so dentists can promote healthy mouths and prevent decay before it happens,” he said.“Tooth decay is almost completely preventable through a balanced diet and good oral hygiene.”
A spokesperson for the National Pure Water Association said: “The Royal College’s otherwise good report is spoilt by its flawed recommendation to increase the extent of fluoridation in the UK.
“There is good evidence to support oral health initiatives like Scotland’s Childsmile programme, which costs less than fluoridation in England and covers more people. After nearly 70 years of fluoridation, there is not one high-quality scientific study (an individual, randomised, controlled trial) that shows fluoridation to be effective or safe.”
If you would like to subscribe just e-mail nofluoride@googlemail for latest information on how to stop this undemocratic decision to fluoridate Southampton against the will of the people by 12 unelected members of the Strategic Health Authority who do not even live here. The Board Dr Geoffrey Harris - Chairman Jim Easton - Chief Executive Chris Evennett – Director of Strategy and Reform Katherine Fenton - Director of Clinical Standards Olga Senior - Director of Communications & Corporate Affairs Ben Lloyd - Director of Finance and Investment Prof. John Newton Regional Director of Public Health Terry Butler CBE Alyson Coates . Joe McLoone Chris Le Fevre Martin Howell
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