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Water Fluoridation

Volume 622: debated on Monday 12 February 2001

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they agree with the statement by the authors of the article

Infants' Fluoride Ingestion from Water, Supplements and Dentifrice in the Journal of the American Dental Association 1995; 126:1625, that "The optimal level of fluoride intake has never been determined scientifically". [HL653]

Numerous epidemiological studies indicate that, in temperate climates, the highest level of prevented dental decay associated with the least cosmetically significant dental fluorosis and no clear evidence of other effects is reached when approximately one part of fluoride is present in a million parts of drinking water.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 30 January (

WA 55), whether they accept the statements made by Professor Sheldon, who chaired the advisory group to the recent systematic scientific review of water fluoridation, in an open letter dated 3 January that (a) "the quality of the studies [on effectiveness] was generally moderate"; (b) "There was little evidence to show that water fluoridation has reduced social inequalities in dental health"; and (c) "The review did not show water fluoridation to be safe". [HL651]

We prefer to refer to the report itself, which says that: "There appears to be some evidence that water fluoridation reduces the inequalities in dental health across social classes in 5 and 12 year-olds …" and, "Overall, no clear association between water fluoridation and incidence or mortality of bone cancers, thyroid cancer or all cancers was found". The report also noted that the best available evidence suggests that fluoridation of drinking water supplies does reduce caries prevalence.We acknowledge that the systematic scientific review team found that there was a lack of good quality research on which to base their findings. We wish to remedy this and have asked the Medical Research Council to advise on what further research might be needed.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 31 January (

WA 66):

  • (a) whether they continue to support the fluoridation of water; and
  • (b) how the promotional role of the British Fluoridation Society is compatible with the production of objective, evidence-based information on the subject, in the particular light of the society's briefing on the systematic scientific review by the National Health Service Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, which stated inter alia that "The findings of the York review are unequivocal: water fluoridation is effective and it is safe". [HL652]
  • We can confirm that the Government continue to support the fluoridation of water, subject to its effectiveness and safety being kept under regular review.We accept that the York review identified a need for more good quality evidence and have asked the British Fluoridation Society to ensure that this is reflected in future briefings.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will specify the scientific studies that show the safety and effectiveness of fluoridated milk in preventing caries in schoolchildren. [HL654]

    Safety was considered in the Department of Health Report on Health and Social Subjects No. 41: Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom.The following nine studies have addressed effectiveness:

    • Effect of fluoridated milk on caries: 5-year results. Journal of the Royal Society of Health: 105(3), 99–103.
    • Effect of Fluoridated Milk on Caries: 10-year results. Journal of Clinical Dentistry: 3,121–124.
    • Caries reduction and fluoride intake in Russian children receiving fluoride-milk. Journal of Dental Research: 77(IADR Abstracts); 712.
    • Dental caries reducing effects of a milk fluoridation project in Bulgaria. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 55(4); 234–237.
    • Fluoride addition to milk and its effect on dental caries in school children. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: 11; 94–101.
    • Five-year double-blind fluoridated milk study in Scotland. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 12(4); 223–229.
    • Caries prevention through fluoridated powdered milk in a Chilean rural community. Caries Research: 31, 303.
    • The effect of fluoridated milk on caries in Arab children. Results after three years. Clinical Preventive Dentistry 9(4); 23–25.
    • Report on the Winterthur study with fluoridation of household milk. Helvetica Paediatrica Acta:19; 343–354.