The Irish Dental Association has warmly welcomed a new report by Public Health England (PHE) into the safety and efficacy of water fluoridation in the UK.
The new report found that people living in fluoridated areas in the UK have lower levels of tooth decay – as many as 45% fewer children aged one to four in fluoridated areas are admitted to hospital for tooth decay than those living in non-fluoridated areas. On average, there are 15% fewer five-year olds, and 11% fewer 12-year olds with tooth decay in fluoridated areas. When deprivation and ethnicity are taken into account, 28% fewer five-year olds and 21% fewer 12-year olds have tooth decay in fluoridated areas than in non-fluroidated areas.
In its study, the PHE found no evidence that fluoridated water caused harm to health. There was no differences between the rates of hip fracture, osteosarcoma (a form of bone cancer), cancers in general, or Down’s syndrome births in fluoridated areas than there was in non-fluoridated areas. In fact, rates of kidney stones and bladder cancer were actually lower in fluoridate areas, however the PHE warned that this should not be interpreted as a ‘protective effect’ from fluoridated water, as the lower rates may be due to other factors and the possibility that they occurred by chance cannot be ruled out.
PHE is required by legislation to monitor the effects of water fluoridation schemes on the health of people living in the areas covered, and to produce reports at no greater than four-yearly intervals.
The PHE report provides further confirmation to the dental industry that there is no evidence that water fluoridation schemes are harmful to health.