A Trip to the Dentist

TODAY I am seeing the dentist. I never look forward to it, but I hope I'll need no more than a check up.

Sadly that is not true of too many of our children. Very young children are still having teeth extracted because of their sugar filled drinks and junk food diet.

Some parents find it too convenient to allow their kids to eat food that literally rots their teeth.

I say convenient because these foods are no cheaper than fresh food, but require little preparation. Neither do the same parents ensure their children clean their teeth.

What is to be done?

There is a simple, but controversial measure, which would help.

In Birmingham average five year olds have less than one missing, filled or decayed tooth. In Cardiff the figure is more than two; in Manchester it is three.

Why is the rate of tooth decay three times worse in Manchester than Birmingham? Because water in Birmingham is fluoridated.

In 1985 the Tory MP, Ken Clarke brought in the Water Fluoridation Act, which allowed adding fluoride to water as a safe and cost effective way of improving health.

Unfortunately it was badly worded. As a result over 60 requests from health authorities for fluoridation have been rejected.

The House of Commons is now debating a new Water Bill which will make it easier for local communities to decide to add fluoride to the water supply.

The most extreme who rant about mass medication remind me of the military character in the film “Dr Strangelove” who starts World War Three because he believes the fluoridation of the water is a communist plot.

300 million people worldwide drink fluoridated water without ill effect.

When we knew of a safe way to improve children's health we should allow local communities to choose to do so, even when it slightly dilutes freedom of choice.