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It’s official – fluoridation reduces tooth decay among children

Child-Brushing-teeth

According to the latest health monitoring report for England, adding fluoride to drinking water can significantly reduce tooth extractions and cavities among children and young people, especially in the most deprived areas of the UK.

The report was released at a particularly timely moment too, just before Easter – a time when much of the UK was rapidly swept up in the whirlwind of sweet treats that are commonly associated with this time of year (especially those bringing up young families). Here at AP Smilecare, we’ve always been keenly aware of the increased dental risks associated with this time of year – which is exactly why we’ve overhauled our fantastic Denplan price schemes, to make private dentistry even more affordable.

Now, as expert dentists, we’ve obviously got a vested interest in the report’s results, so we’ve got a brief summary of it for you. Here’s what you need to know.

What do the findings of the report tell us?

Findings from a report conducted by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) revealed in certain areas in England with higher fluoride concentrations, children and young people were up to 63% less likely to be admitted to hospital for tooth extractions due to decay.

Some of the key statistics published include:

  • In the most deprived 20% of areas, the chances of 5 year old children having cavities was 25% lower in areas with a fluoridation scheme
  • 5 year-olds in areas with higher fluoride concentrations were less likely to experience dental cavities
  • Up to 56% of hospital admissions for the removal of decayed teeth among children and young people could be prevented in the most deprived areas through water fluoridation schemes

To give you a quick recap (just in case), fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which is found in varying degrees within the UK water supply. As the report demonstrates, the mineral helps to prevent tooth decay, and carefully measured (safe) amounts are added to the drinking water of places in the UK where the mineral is low in concentration. The original report discusses the definition of fluoridation schemes in a little more detail.

As you can see, 63% is one a heck of a difference! So what sort of public health response has been prompted by the report?

Government to prioritise rollout of fluoridation schemes

Well, the Director of Public Health Analysis from OHID, John Newton, said “This report supports the view, as recently underlined by the UK Chief Medical Officers, that water fluoridation is an effective public health intervention for reducing the prevalence of tooth decay and improving dental health equality.”

His comments were backed up by Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid, who concluded that “The evidence is clear: water fluoridation is a safe and effective measure to help improve our nation’s oral health… through our Health and Care Bill, we will aim to make it simpler to roll out water fluoridation in more areas.”

So, plans for a nation-wide rollout of water fluoridation schemes are in motion. However, a full plan to address the health inequalities associated with dental hygiene won’t be published by the Department of Health and Social Care until later this year.

That’s the latest on this milestone report! We’ll be sure to keep you updated with any developments but for now, you can do your part for you and your family’s dental hygiene by signing up to our affordable Denplan membership. Here at AP Smilecare, we pride ourselves on our friendly, caring and patient focussed approach to dentistry. We’ll take the time to get to know you in order to find out exactly what dental treatments and approaches you’d benefit from the most. Book in with our team by calling us on 01254 297 000 – we look forward to seeing you!

Posted on: 21st Apr, 2022