Call to extend water fluoridation schemes
Campaigners are calling for the Government to take action to extend water fluoridation schemes.
This is after a survey showed less than one in five health districts had so far met targets for children's dental health.
Government targets require that by 2003, five-year-olds should on average have no more than one decayed, missing or filled tooth. But according to the National Survey of Children's Dental Health, only 18% of health districts had so far reached the target.
The results have prompted the National Alliance for Equity in Dental Health to call for water fluoridation schemes to be extended.
Dr John Renshaw, chairman of the British Dental Association's executive board, said: "We have a government who for over four years have apparently been committed to reducing health inequalities.
"It is very disappointing therefore that for the want of a fluoridated water supply young children in Manchester continue to suffer three times as much tooth decay as children in Birmingham."
The Alliance, an umbrella group of 79 national medical, dental and voluntary organisations, said children's health in areas where fluoride had been added to water supplies was demonstrably better than in areas where it had not.
Only about 10% of the UK population currently drinks fluoridated water, mainly in the West Midlands and the north east.
The Alliance would like to see fluoridation extended to the north west and north of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and inner London.
Former Fan of Flouridation Now Warns of its Perils