BFS welcomes report on water fluoridation as an effective public health intervention

Today (23 March 2022), The British Fluoridation Society (BFS) officially welcomed a new report published by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) and UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), confirming that adding fluoride to drinking water can significantly reduce tooth extractions and cavities among children and young people.

The findings in the latest health monitoring report for England show that children and young people in areas with higher fluoride concentrations were up to 63% less likely to be admitted to hospital for tooth extractions due to decay than those in areas with low fluoride concentrations. The difference was greatest in the most deprived areas as children and young people in these areas benefitted the most from fluoridation.

Fluoride occurs naturally and is present in water and some foods in varying concentrations. In some areas with low natural fluoride levels, fluoride is added to drinking water, in line with safe limits, to improve dental health for children and adults as an effective and safe public health measure.

The report follows the recent UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) statement confirming that water fluoridation is an effective public health intervention for reducing the prevalence of tooth decay and improving oral health inequalities across the UK.
Dr Barry Cockcroft CBE, chair of the BFS, said: “We welcome the report and are not surprised by its findings. Having personally lived and practised in a fluoridated area I have seen at first hand the beneficial impact water fluoridation can have.

“The body of scientific evidence that indicates it is both safe and effective is massive and comes from around the world. Around 400 million people worldwide benefit from water fluoridation with no evidence of harm. Fluoride ions are present in all our tap water and it was this that led to people making the link between fluoride at the right level and a reduced prevalence of tooth decay.

“The BFS has been campaigning on this issue for many years and it was a positive statement of intent from the Government that they included clauses in the Health and Care Act which will make it much easier to expand coverage across England and hopefully, given the support from all four UK Chief Medical Officers, across the Devolved Administrations as well.”

At the BFS conference last October both BFS President and Labour Peer Lord Hunt and Maria Caulfield, Minister with responsibility for dentistry, spoke in support of this highly evidence based public health measure.

The Water fluoridation: health monitoring report for England 2022 is available here:
Water fluoridation: health monitoring report for England 2022 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)