In America, the fluoridation of public water supplies has been implemented since the 1960s. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has been clinically proven to stave off tooth decay and prevent cavities and over 70 percent of the American population enjoys the additional perk of fluoride being added to their community water sources.
Data collected internationally in 2004 has shown that approximately 400 million people around the world have been drinking fluoridated water, Britain has been lagging behind. That is about to change courtesy of a high court ruling.
UK Water Fluoridation
Despite the scientific evidence supporting adding fluoride to public water supplies, "Only 10% of the UK (mainly the West Midlands and North East) receives fluoridated water" (British Dental Association February 2001, http://www.bfsweb.org/facts/wf_uknworld/f_wf_uknworld.htm). While the UK has been home to water fluoridation practices for more than four decades, a scant 8 percent of the total population has been drinking fluoridated water.
MedicalNewsToday.com estimates that approximately 5,500,000 UK residents out of a whopping total of 61,838,000, consume fluoridated drinking. In a move to improve dental health of residents, the Southampton City Primary Care Trust has been working towards increasing water fluoridation levels to the American standard. The move was faced with legal challenges courtesy of a local resident, however the local high court found in the favor of the Trust. The hope from the British Dental Health Foundation is that more communities will follow the fluoridation process in order to effectively aid the nation's battle with tooth erosion.
Dr. Nigel Carter of the British Dental Health Foundation is encouraged by the news as he has seen the positive effects of fluoride first hand. Carter has said "Fluoride was added to the Birmingham supply in 1964 and the difference in dental health compared to the neighbouring population in non-fluoridated Sandwell was stark. When Sandwell's water was fluoridated in 1987 it transformed levels of oral health, putting a poor borough amongst the top ten areas for dental health in the country" (Medicalnewstoday.com).