To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the statistics for dental health among 5-year-olds published in October this year showing a further decline in carious teeth in the area of the Southampton City Primary Care Trust from 1.99 dmft in 2003–04 to 1.76 dmft in 2005–06 and most recently to 1.13 dmft in 2007–08, in the light of the decision in February this year by South Central Strategic Health Authority to fluoridate water supplies in Southampton and some neighbouring areas. [HL630]
Oral health is improving but unacceptable inequalities remain. Direct comparisons should not be made between the results of this survey and previous surveys. This was the first survey of children's dental health where parents of children were required to give positive consent to the examination of their children. Experience shows that non-respondents to requests for consent are more likely to be from deprived areas, where there is a tendency for children to have higher levels of dental decay. I understand that the number of general anaesthetic required for tooth extractions in Southampton remains unacceptably high with recent figures from 2006 to 2009 showing that approximately 500 children every year need to have decayed teeth removed. We continue to support South Central Strategic Health Authority's decision to fluoridate a large part of Southampton and parts of south-west Hampshire.