Councillors to consider evidence on water fluoridation

​Date: 2/12/2015

PR ref: 5123

A Wakefield Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee is to consider evidence from Public Health England on the merits of a local water fluoridation scheme.

The meeting of the Caring for Our People Overview and Scrutiny Committee on December 10 will hear a presentation from Public Health England about the effects of water fluoridation on preventing tooth decay.

Councillors will also  be asked to consider whether the quality of evidence for fluoridation has improved since the Committee last looked into the issue in 2007, and if, so, if this warrants a further review on the merits of a local fluoridation scheme.

In the Wakefield district over 40 percent of five year olds have more than one missing, filled or decayed tooth higher than the national percent of 30 percent.

A review of water fluoridation in 2007 by the committee recommended having a debate on fluoridation once research was of sufficient quality.

Betty Rhodes, chair of the Caring for Our People Overview and Scrutiny Committee said: "It is important to emphasise that the Committee is at a very early stage in the process and no immediate decisions are to be taken on this.

 "At this point we are simply looking to establishing whether or not the available evidence is of sufficient quality to warrant further investigation."

If the committee feels the evidence is of sufficient quality it would embark upon a full review. This would be a single step in a long and complex decision-making process.

 Other stages in the decision-making process could include councillors making a proposal on whether or not to introduce water fluoridation. If this was agreed the next stage would be technical and feasibility studies and a full public consultation to gauge support for the proposal and the strength of any scientific or ethical arguments.

The Committee has already supported all the other recommendations within the district's Oral Health Needs Assessment. These include promoting a healthier diet, improving levels of teeth brushing and preventative action through schools and dentists. The Council is taking action on these and other issues with partner agencies within the district.