Members of the House of Commons
and House of Lords

Lord Colwyn, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords since 2010: “Is it morally acceptable to allow children to suffer the pain and discomfort of decayed teeth and allow them to experience the trauma of tooth extraction, sometimes under general anaesthetic, when we know of a simple way of adjusting the concentration of a naturally occurring element that goes a long way to alleviating these problems?”

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Labour): Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health 1998 to 2003 and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords 2008-10 and former chief executive of the NHS Confederation: “The public health dentistry programme in
Birmingham and in the Black Country is probably one of the most progressive in the country as a whole. The fact that it has taken a proactive role in promoting fluoridation indicates that it is dedicated to the dental health of children.”

Lord Whitty, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2001-05 and a former General Secretary of the Labour Party: “From a public health perspective, water fluoridation is the delivery method of choice to bring about population improvements in dental health and should be considered locally when it is desired to reduce inequalities in levels of dental decay.”

 

Baroness Cumberlege, Conservative Health Minister in the Lords 1992-97, former chair of the National Association of Health Authorities: “In the 1990s, Dudley’s water was fluoridated…. In Stourbridge (the most affluent area), whose water was not treated, the number of children free from tooth decay dropped, whereas in the centre of Dudley, where the water was fluoridated, the proportion rose. The turnaround was very dramatic. Children in the most deprived part of the borough now have better teeth than those in the least deprived part.”

Lord Tarsem King of West Bromwich (Labour), Sandwell councillor 1979 to 2007 and council leader from 1997 to 2001: “The addition of fluoride into water supplies could dramatically reduce the level of tooth decay and give children a decent and painfree start in life….. Water fluoridation delivers greater reductions in decay than toothpaste and other techniques and reaches the whole population rather than only those who adhere to a regular cleaning regime using fluoride toothpaste.”

John Martin Wharton, the Lord Bishop of Newcastle 1997-2010: “I cannot think of another measure that could be introduced so economically and yet produce such a health gain for so many.  The cost of not fluoridating is paid for by the continued suffering and poor dental health of some of the vulnerable groups in our society. I am left asking why a child born in a poor family in Birmingham or Newcastle should be able to receive the benefits of fluoridation but not one born in similar circumstances in the city of Bradford.”

Lord Turnberg, President of the Royal College of Physicians 1992-97: “There does not seem to be any doubt that areas of the country where fluoride has been introduced have, by and large, reduced the incidence of caries. Where fluoride has been withdrawn – as it has been in one or two places – the incidence has risen.”

Ken Clarke (Conservative), MP for Rushcliffe, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice 2010-12, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1993-97, Home Secretary 1992-93, Secretary of State for Education 1990-92, Secretary of State for Health 1988-90: “Successive surveys have shown that dental decay levels among children who have had lifelong exposure to fluoridation are consistently lower than among children in comparable non-fluoridation areas. There is ample evidence that the fluoridation of water results in a markedly greater reduction in dental decay than simply the use of fluoridated toothpaste or other dental health measures.”

Sir Paul Beresford (Conservative), MP for Mole Valley, Minister at the Department of the Environment 1994-97, and a dentist by profession: “A dentist in New Zealand told me that before fluoridation, filling teeth heroically was like trying to fill a bath with the plug out – it was hopeless.  When fluoridation arrived, that changed.”

Andy Burnham (Labour), MP for Leigh, Secretary of State for Health 2009-10, Shadow Home Secretary since 2015: “Water fluoridation has been shown to improve the dental health of an entire population, cutting needless suffering and improving people’s quality of life.”

Robert Key (Conservative), MP for Salisbury 1983-2010 and a former member of Medical Research Council: “An NOP survey found that 67 per cent of people in Britain think that fluoride should be added to water if it can reduce tooth decay, with 22 per cent saying no.  The same survey found that 42 per cent of people think that fluoride is added to water already, when the real figure is that about 10 per cent have fluoridated water.”

Dr Brian Iddon (Lab), MP for Bolton South East 1997-2010, a former Bolton councillor and university lecturer in chemistry: “It is shameful that there are so many children in Britain with such poor dental health that some as young as two or three have to have teeth out.”

Lord Avebury (Eric Lubbock), Liberal MP for Orpington 1962-70, Member of the House of Lords 1971-2016, chair of Parliamentary Human Rights Group 1976-1997: “No consumer has the right to dictate the chemical composition of water, a recipe for anarchy.  What is at stake is not the erosion of liberty but …the erosion of millions of teeth and the resultant suffering and misery of thousands of children which fluoridation would go far to prevent.”