Dental surgeons welcome plans to expand water fluoridation schemes

05 May 2022
1 min read

The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England recently welcomed plans to expand water fluoridation schemes across England, to improve children’s oral health. Dental surgeons also support the 9pm watershed being introduced, which will prevent adverts for foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt being broadcast on television before young children go to bed. The plans were given Royal Assent today as the Health and Care Bill became law.

Dr Charlotte Eckhardt, vice dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgeons at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said, “We fully support the new legislation to allow the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to expand water fluoridation across the UK. Fluoridation is a safe and effective public health measure to reduce dental decay and health inequalities. Nearly a quarter of five-year-olds experience tooth decay and around 38,000 children and young people have teeth removed in hospital every year. Yet only 10 per cent of the population in England live in areas with fluoridation schemes. If all five-year-olds in England drank fluoridated water, we would see much less tooth decay – 17 per cent less in wealthy areas and 28 per cent less in the most deprived areas.

"We look forward to working with the Department of Health and Social Care, and the chief dental officer, to ensure more areas can reap the benefits of fluoridation.”

Commenting on the 9pm watershed, Dr Eckhardt added, “The average five-year-old eats and drinks their own weight in sugar each year, posing a risk to both their weight and oral health. As a member of the Obesity Health Alliance, we back the adoption of a 9pm TV watershed for advertising for foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar and restricting online advertising. Tackling the epidemic of child obesity by reducing the amount of sugar kids eat is key to preventing tooth decay.”