A recent report from Public Health England has revealed that more than one in four five-year-olds and one in five 12-year-olds in local authorities with water fluoridation schemes had no tooth decay compared to those in local authorities without.

The use of fluoride in improving oral health is one that has been long documented and often prompts fierce debate between those who advocate its use and those who do not. Whatever your view, there is no hiding the positive effect fluoride has on oral health.


1 Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in many foods and in all drinking water.

2 Fluoride can greatly help dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay.

3 The addition to fluoride to water supplies has been researched for over 60 years, and water fluoridation has been proven to reduce tooth decay by 40-60 percent.

4 The addition of fluoride in toothpaste has been responsible for reducing tooth decay by up to 50 per cent.

5 All children up to three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm (parts per million). After three years old they should use toothpaste that has 1350-1500ppm. These figures should be on the outer packaging.

6 Fluoride varnishes applied by the dentist can help further reduce children’s dental decay.


1 Parents should supervise their children’s tooth brushing until age 7and only uses a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

2 Parents should also encourage their child to spit the toothpaste out and not swallow or rinse after brushing.

3 Fluoride supplements should only be taken on the advice of the dentist.

4 If you are unsure about how much water is in your water, contact your local water company.

5 Ask your dentist about fluoride varnishes to help protect your child’s teeth from decay.

 (Information taken from British Dental Health Foundation Word of Mouth Magazine)