The green paper on prevention announced by Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, has been welcomed by Professor Michael Lennon OBE, on behalf of the British Fluoridation Society.

Professor Lennon from the School of Clinical Dentistry at University of Sheffield, a former chair of BSF and now its spokesman, delivered recommendations for taking the strategy forward and was supported in his statement by the Hull and East Yorkshire Local Dental Committee (LDC) and the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry.

With a new government commitment to prevention, due to be framed in the green paper in 2019, now is the time, said Professor Lennon, for fluoridation of the water supplies to be at the heart of oral health prevention.

He highlighted the ongoing struggle by the Hull and East Yorkshire LDC, supported by former MP Alan Johnson, to get fluoridation introduced in their area. He stated that ‘government support and funding is essential.’

He also said ‘fluoridation is a cost-effective measure which reduces dental decay, as highlighted in a ‘return-on-investment’ graphic produced by Public Health England.’

Improving the health of children’s teeth

Professor Lennon identified the steps that could be taken to improve the health of children’s teeth and which would be supported by the entire dental profession:

  • Government action to fund fluoridation of water. It should not be left to local authorities to fund these strategically important programmes.
  • The CEO of the NHS should write to NHS commissioning bodies encouraging them to talk to local authorities to discuss the funding of new fluoridation schemes.
  • All barriers to fluoridation of water should be removed with central government managing both the strategy and the    funding in order to reduce the burden of dental decay.
    Claire Stevens, spokesperson for BSPD, said: “We are fully behind fluoridation of water as set out in our position statement. (2) We need to cut admissions to hospital for multiple extractions in children caused by dental caries and protect the most vulnerable in Society. Fluoridation should be part of a portfolio of prevention measures.’

Notes

Matt Hancock announced the green paper ‘Prevention is better than cure’ at the annual meeting of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes on November 5th.

British Fluoridation Society:  www.bfsweb.org

British Society of Paediatric Dentistry: www.bspd.co.uk

The story of the struggle to introduce water fluoridation in Hull is told here: https://onepartpermillionhull.co.uk

References

  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/health-secretary-launches-prevention-is-better-than-cure-vision
  2. https://www.bspd.co.uk/Resources