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Could water fluoridation boost the city’s dental health? Will people put others first too?

An Aerial View of Hull. Image by Neil Mitchell (via Shutterstock).

Last month, Hull City Council have agreed to strike a blow to tooth decay, by voting in favour of water fluoridation.  With the plans unanimously voted for, it aims to get Public Health England’s backing.  The city of Hull, and neighbouring Holderness will be affected by a plan, which many critics have dubbed as ‘mass medication’.

The scheme is expected to cost £300,000 a year, with claims of a commendable cost-benefit ratio.  For every pound spent, £6.00 worth of benefits gained.  If given the go ahead, this will see water fluoridation added to the water supply of another 280,000 people.  The artificially added fluoride will have no effect to the flavour of its drinking water.  For every part that is fluoride, water will make up the other million parts of each concentration.

What other parts of England have water fluoridation schemes?

In all, 6.1 million English citizens are covered by water fluoridation schemes.  The longest-running scheme has been in place since 1964.  This is the scheme that was introduced by Birmingham City Council, 52 years ago.  By 1969, there was a marked drop in tooth decay cases, and the amount of teeth extractions fell dramatically from 1965 to 1981.  Later on, Sandwell, Dudley, and Solihull councils would follow in Birmingham’s footsteps.

Some parts of Cheshire (around Crewe and Nantwich), Cumbria, and County Durham also have water fluoridation, as does the whole of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council area.  There is also plans to extend the scheme to Blackpool Borough Council boundaries.  Scotland and Wales have yet to consider water fluoridation.

What are the benefits?

Evidence claims that artificially fluoridated water has levels that reduce tooth decay.  Other sources point to a reduced incidence of kidney stones, strokes, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as improved dental health.

What about disadvantages?

It is also claimed that water fluoridation is responsible for higher incidences of bone cancers and hip fractures.  Some critics also regard this as a form of ‘mass medication’.  Furthermore, it has been linked to ingestion issues and fluorosis.

What do you think?

We at the Smile Specialist would welcome your opinions on this subject.  Do you think water fluoridation is the answer to Britain’s oral health woes?  Feel free to comment.