Local authorities from across the United Kingdom should add fluoride to water supplies, following new research confirms it has no negative effects.
That is the message from the Oral Health Foundation, which is calling for the introduction of widespread community fluoridation schemes, a move they believe will help protect millions of Brits from tooth decay.
The extensive research, carried out by the National Toxicology Program in the US where 80% of water is fluoridated, states that following years of analysis, there is “no link between elevated levels of fluoride and cognitive learning deficits.”
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps oral health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. It is found in many foods and in all drinking water but usually at levels too low to be beneficial to a person’s oral health.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, says water fluoridation is a safe and highly effective way to significantly reduce health inequalities across the UK: “The single biggest improvement to oral health in the United Kingdom came with the introduction of fluoride into toothpastes and water fluoridation schemes can have an equally positive effect.
“Fluoride not only helps protect the teeth against tooth decay, it also reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria on teeth produce.
“The addition of fluoride to water has been researched for over 70 years, and water fluoridation has been proven to reduce decay by 40 to 60 percent.
THE British Dental Association (BDA) has warned patients in Bradford that self-medication must not fill the NHS access gap.
It comes following a study at the A&E unit of the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, which identified self-medication for dental pain with paracetamol as a significant cause of accidental overdose and potential liver failure. It revealed that lack of access to emergency dental care was a contributory factor to paracetamol overdose.
Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, the BDA’s chair of General Dental Practice said: “Paracetamol is not a solution for dental pain, and is simply a temporary measure until a dentist can provide treatment.
“Sadly lives are now at risk as failure to provide sufficient care for dental emergencies is leaving patients to self-medicate. Bradford is at the sharp end of this access crisis.”
Moira Dumma, Director of Commissioning Operations, NHS England in Yorkshire and the Humber, has previously said NHS England is “committed” to ensuring all patients who want to access NHS dental services can do so.
“We are currently reviewing how we can improve access to NHS dentists across our region and looking at how we can introduce additional capacity from within our existing budget,” she said.
“We are looking at both in-hours and out of hours’ services and at how people can be better signposted to the most appropriate services. We will be paying particular attention to areas where we know this is particularly challenging.
“Patients who require urgent dental treatment can call NHS 111 at any time, day or night in order to access an emergency appointment.”
In a bid to curb childhood obesity, Khan has suggested to ban advertising junk food. This would target advertising platforms such as tube stations, bus shelters and overground stations.
However, the positive effect (encouraging healthier food choices) of this is debatable. The Advertising Association has argued this will have very little impact.
Jamie Oliver along with the BDA are campaigning to tackle energy drink consumption in children under the age of 16. They have urged to make ‘sugar the new tobacco’. ASDA and Aldi have introduced a ban on selling energy drinks to under 16s.
Tooth decay still remains as the main reason for hospital admissions of children and young adults. With energy drinks containing ’20 teaspoons of sugar’ and dangerously high levels of caffeine for children, its hoping to curve the number of hospital admissions.
It was recently established that heavy drinking poses a big health risk and can even take days off your life. It is now also established that heavy drinking can affect the balance of microbes in your mouth. Those who drank heavy had higher presence of bad bacteria in their mouths.
Previous links to heavy drinking and bad oral health have been established. In previous cases it was found that heavy drinking increases the risk of tooth wear due to alcohol.
Research from Public Health England (PHE) has shown alarming figures for oral health care in the child population. Around 141 children, everyday are admitted to hospitals to have their teeth extracted.
The main culprit is tooth decay, caused by a combination of sugary drinks and brushing habits. As a result, PHE has launched a campaign, Change4life which aims to address the oral health risks. I also provides healthy alternatives and advice on healthy oral health habits such as brushing.
A recent poll has has suggested that a tax on unhealthy foods would encourage 47% of Brits to reduce their consumption of those foods.
Age and geography play a strong role in this likelihood. 53% of 16-34 year-olds were more likely to be put off unhealthy foods as a result of the tax. Compared to only 42% of over 45 year-olds feeling this way. London was also the most likely to be deterred by the tax in the UK, with 53% reporting a tax would put them off buying unhealthy food.