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UK Against Fluoridation

Friday, May 20, 2016

House of Lords

Photo of Baroness WalmsleyBaroness Walmsley Liberal Democrat Lords Principal Spokesperson for Health 11:35 am, 19th May 2016

My Lords,...................
The pressure on the NHS could, of course, be lessened in future if we paid more attention to prevention, yet the Government had to be led kicking and screaming into agreeing some kind of sugar tax to reduce child obesity. The measures announced lack ambition. They should be broader and introduced sooner, but at least they are something. But where is the long-promised child obesity strategy? And what about putting fluoride in all our drinking water to prevent children getting tooth decay and having to go into hospital for extraction? What about fortifying flour with vitamin B to prevent neural tube disease?........................

Photo of Lord Colwyn

Lord Colwyn Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)  2:44 pm, 19th May 2016

My Lords, I declare my interest as a retired dental surgeon and a fellow of theBritish Dental Association. I am sure that noble Lords will not be surprised to hear that in my remarks I am keen to turn the attention of the House towards the important but too often overlooked field of dentistry and oral health. As noble Lords will probably realise, the noble Baroness, Lady Benjamin, virtually made my speech word for word, but that is the problem with getting briefs from the same source........
While there was no mention of improving health outcomes in the gracious Speech, statistics clearly show why oral health deserves much more attention this Parliament. One in four five-year-olds in England has tooth decay, and the number of children facing hospital admission for tooth extractions under general anaesthesia went up by a quarter between 2010-11 and 2014-15. While data published last week by Public Health England show modest improvements in the oral health of English children, the pace of progress is significantly slower than in Scotland and Wales, where devolved Governments have introduced innovative preventive dental health programmes. Data also show that despite the small overall improvement, regional and social inequalities in oral health continue to persist. I welcome the proposed measures to establish a soft drinks industry levy to help tackle childhood obesity, and I support the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, in the use offluoridation, which should be much more widespread than it is at the moment. I urge the Minister to show the same ambition and appetite for innovation as her colleagues in Holyrood and in the Senedd. The Childsmile and Designed to Smile schemes have cut NHS treatment bills and shown that dental disease and deprivation do not have to go hand in hand. Will the Minister consider learning from their success and investing in a similar national oral health programme to drive improvements in children’s oral health in England?


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