Dental surgeons welcome plans to expand water fluoridation schemes
28 Apr 2022
The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England today welcomed plans to expand water fluoridation schemes across England, to improve children’s oral health. Dental surgeons also support the 9pm watershed being introduced, which will prevent adverts for foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt being broadcast on television before young children go to bed. The plans were given Royal Assent today as the Health and Care Bill became law.1
Dr Charlotte Eckhardt, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgeons at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: “We fully support the new legislation to allow the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to expand water fluoridation across the UK. Fluoridation is a safe and effective public health measure to reduce dental decay and health inequalities.2 Nearly a quarter of 5-year-olds experience tooth decay and around 38,000 children and young people have teeth removed in hospital every year. Yet only 10 per cent of the population in England live in areas with fluoridation schemes. If all 5-year-olds in England drank fluoridated water, we would see much less tooth decay - 17% less in wealthy areas and 28% less in the most deprived areas.3
“We look forward to working with the Department of Health and Social Care, and the Chief Dental Officer, to ensure more areas can reap the benefits of fluoridation.”
Commenting on the 9pm watershed, Dr Eckhardt added: “The average five-year-old eats and drinks their own weight in sugar each year, posing a risk to both their weight and oral health.
As a member of the Obesity Health Alliance, we back the adoption of a 9pm TV watershed for advertising for foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar and restricting online advertising. Tackling the epidemic of child obesity by reducing the amount of sugar kids eat is key to preventing tooth decay.”
Notes to editors
- The Health and Care Bill received Royal Assent today. It can be viewed here: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3022 The Bill gives the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care the power to directly introduce, vary or terminate water fluoridation schemes. It states: “This removes the burden from local authorities and will allow the Department of Health and Social Care to streamline processes and take responsibility for proposing any new fluoridation schemes, which will continue to be subject to public consultation. Central government will also become responsible for the associated work, such as the cost of consultations, feasibility studies, and the capital and revenue costs associated with any new and existing schemes.”
- In 2015 the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England published a Report on the State of Children's Oral Health — Royal College of Surgeons (rcseng.ac.uk)
- Statistics on the impact of water fluoridation schemes on children’s health can be found here:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-and-care-bill-factsheets/health-and-care-bill-water-fluoridation#:~:text=PHE%20estimated%20that%20if%20all,in%20the%20most%20deprived%20areas.
- The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is an independent professional body committed to helping the entire dental team achieve and maintain excellence in practice and patient care. It provides world-class courses and its qualifications are internationally recognised, including its new Membership of The Faculty of Dental Surgery (MFDS) examination.
- For more information, please contact the RCS England Press Office: Tel. 0207 869 6055/6052; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For out-of-hours media enquiries, please telephone: 0207 869 6056.