The format of this page is
- A summary of the key points relevant up to 2020
- An online and printable version of the 2012/3 publication “one in a million”
- A summary of the main points raised by more recent papers and reports
- Access to a list of the key papers and reports published since 2012/3
- Access to an archive of other reports etc.
Key Points (updated 2020)
- Fluoridation of water supplies reduces the number of decayed, missing and filled teeth in children and adults.
- As a result of fluoridation, children experience less toothache, have fewer dental abscesses and require fewer dental extractions and general anaesthetics.
- The cost to the NHS of treating avoidable disease is therefore reduced.
- While tooth decay levels have fallen in both fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities in recent years, inequalities in dental health remain wide .
- There is still a strong case for extending fluoridation on a targeted basis in those parts of the UK with persistently high tooth decay levels among children, particularly in the North of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and inner London.
- Water fluoridation reduces these social inequalities particularly in the numbers of young children admitted to hospital for dental extractions.
Summary of Data Published Post 2012/2013
- Two new systematic reviews (Iheozor-Ejiofor 2015; Jack et al, 2016; NHMRC, 2017a; 2017b) confirm once again the effectiveness of community water fluoridation in reducing dental decay. However, disappointment was expressed that the Cochrane review (Iheozor-Ejiofor 2015) used rather restrictive inclusion criteria (CDC 2015; Rugg-Gunn et al 2016). An opportunity lost.
- An additional review (McClaren and Singhal 2016) concluded that, “overall, the published research points more to an increase in dental caries post community water fluoridation cessation than otherwise”.
- Blinkhorn et al (2015) presented data evaluating the effectiveness of a new fluoridation scheme in New South Wales, contrasting the dental health of 5 to 7- year-old children in the newly fluoridated area against those living in positive and negative control areas.
- Recent and large-scale monitoring studies in the US, UK, Australia and Brazil (Slade et al, 2018; PHE, 2014; PHE,2018; Spencer et al 2018; Firmino et al, 2018) confirm the continuing importance of community water fluoridation
- Further evidence has accumulated that community water fluoridation narrows the unacceptable social inequalities seen in children’s dental health (Cho,2014; Do et al 2018; PHE 2018; Weston-Price et al 2018).
- And in particular data from the UK, New Zealand and Israel (PHE 2018; Hobbs 2020; Kivitsky et al 2015) show how community water fluoridation dramatically reduces the numbers of young children from the most deprived backgrounds being admitted to hospital for dental extractions.