We are not to have fluoridation in this part of the country. Southampton City Council is against it. We have to ask why and our leaders do not tell us.
There is no doubt that our dental health is poor and that fluoridation is a cheap and effective way of improving it.
Fluoridation: What about individual rights?
Fluoridation is a subject where the common good appears to conflict with individual rights. Should people have the benefits of fluoridation or is it unethical to force fluoridation on them?
In the Midlands and the North East of the country people are forced to drink fluoridated water. Are they any worse off for it? Or do they have better teeth?
The debate is whether governments should meddle with water and food supplies on such a large scale. The iodisation of salt was a great public health advance in places with low iodine (Switzerland and North Derbyshire where I lived). Cretins were common in N Derbyshire as were goitres (Known as Derbyshire Neck) but no longer. The term cretin has now been replaced as it became a term of abuse. Now we refer to hypothyroidism.
Yes or No?
Why have fluoridation? Because it is a simple and cheap way of improving the dental health of all of us, especially children.
Why not fluoridation? Because it is the administration of a medication to people who have not asked for it.
What’s the central issue with fluoridation?
The No Fluoride group has won the day but their reasons, judged by the published comments in the Daily Echo, are not sound and avoid the central issue. The central issue is: How can dental health be improved?
John Denham MP, Caroline Noakes MP, Julian Lewis MP, Councillors David Harrison, Royston Smith, Roy Perry and Dave Shields have all expressed satisfaction or even delight that fluoridation has been rejected. Dave Shields seems to want to blame Public Health England for the decision and John Denham acknowledges the undoubted benefits of fluoridation but welcomes our rejection of it.
Fluoridation has been considered by an All Party Parliamentary Group (2003) (pdf) and found to be acceptable if people vote for it locally.
Cause for concern
What should concern us is that, in welcoming the decision, none has expressed a desire to improve dental health let alone suggest what other measures might be taken to improve our teeth. These people are supposed to be leaders and fighters for our health and welfare.
What you can do to prevent dental disease
If you want to help prevent dental disease in yourself and your family you can do your own fluoridation.
Use fluoride toothpaste, mouth washes and gargles or even fluoride tablets.
If you really must, there is a fluoride containing chewing gum. Dentists can apply fluoride varnish.
All this in addition to the usual steps towards dental hygiene including avoiding tooth rotting foods.
Knowing that there is little fluoride in our water, I gave fluoride to my children. Now, in their late 40’s they have, as far as I know, a full set of their own teeth.