Blackpool Council has voted in favour of introducing fluoride into schoolchildren’s milk to improve their oral health.
The initiative will become part of the schoolchildren’s free breakfast scheme and will provide fluoridated milk to over 8,000 schoolchildren in 77 primary schools.
‘It is great that the local council has recognised that something needs to be done to address this huge problem and taken positive action,’ Michaela ONeill, president of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT), said.
‘The area that this change will happen in is one of the areas that has the highest levels of child dental decay in the UK, with more than one in three five-year-olds having suffered from problems.
‘Other areas with similar levels of oral health problems have already introduced such schemes and this is an opportunity to show other councils that with a small, inexpensive change huge benefits can be had.’
Parents of the schoolchildren will have the option to opt out of allowing their children to be given fluoridated milk.
Fluoride has been proven to improve the dental health by strengthening tooth enamel.
Adding fluoride to water has been shown to reduce decay levels by 40-60%, however Blackpool doesn’t currently benefit from fluoridated water and there have been difficulties introducing fluoride into the water supply in other areas.
‘The BSDHT has an existing commitment to improving children’s oral health through our First Smiles campaign where we look to teach children about their oral health at a young age to influence good habits which impact on the rest of their lives,’ added Ms ONeill.
‘We urge other councils in the UK to take note of what is happening in Blackpool and see how they can implement it to improve the levels of oral health in their region.’