Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Water fluoridation: current challenges
  1. John Furness1,
  2. Sam J Oddie2,
  3. Simon Hearnshaw3
  1. 1Paediatric Emergency Department, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK
  2. 2Bradford Neonatology, Bradford Royal Infirmary, West Yorkshire, UK
  3. 3Department of Dentistry, Local Dental Network, Hull and East Riding, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr John Furness, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds LS1 3EX, UK; John.Furness{at}


Dental extraction for caries is the most common reason for children aged 6–10 years to be admitted to hospital. Community Water Fluoridation (CWF) is safe and effective at reducing dental caries. It is most effective where there is more deprivation. However, many deprived areas do not have CWF despite Public Health England recommending it. Those who lobby against fluoridation do so using emotionally charged language and misinformation. We discuss the benefits of fluoridation and the specious arguments used against this important public health measure. The National CWF Network is led by dentists and promotes CWF. COVID-19 has led to the suspension of routine dentistry, renewing the urgency of implementation of CWF. Professional bodies such as the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health are urged to give their support.

  • children's rights
  • costing
  • dentistry
  • general paediatrics
  • epidemiology

Statistics from


  • Contributors JF was commissioned to write the paper and made the first draft and subsequent revisions. SJO provided substantial advice and suggestions for improvement that have been used.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests Both JF and SO signed up to support the Community Water Fluoridation Network. As paediatricians, they advocate and campaign for the rights of children to good health, in this case the best possible oral health.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data sharing is not applicable as no datasets were generated and/or analysed for this study. There are no new data in the submission.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.