Fluoride: Infant Foods / Drinking Water

Health written question – answered on 20th February 2008.

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Photo of Graham Brady Graham Brady Conservative, Altrincham and Sale West

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) with reference to his answer of 17 September 2007, Official Report, column 2209W, on infant foods: fluoride, whether his Department has completed its evaluation of advice issued by the American Dental Association that fluoridated water should not be used to make up powdered infant formula because of the risk of dental fluorosis; and if he will publish that evaluation;

(2) what proportion of the population have dental fluorosis; and what estimate he has made of the proportion of the population likely to have dental fluorosis in areas where the public water supply is fluoridated.

Photo of Ann Keen Ann Keen Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Health Services), Department of Health

Dental fluorosis is a cosmetic effect with no implications for systemic (general) health. It may nevertheless, in a small minority of cases, give people concerns about the appearance of their teeth. A research project reported in the British Dental Journal (volume 189 No 4 August 26 2000) on the prevalence of fluorosis of children who had been continuous residents in fluoridated Newcastle or non-fluoridated Northumberland found that 54 per cent. of children in water fluoridated areas had fluorosis and 23 per cent. in the fluoride deficient areas. In response to the advice from the American Dental Association, we are to investigate the aesthetic impact of fluorosis. We are funding a research project involving the use of intra-oral cameras and automated software to obtain consistent readings in surveys of levels of dental fluorosis. If, as we expect, the project is successful, the researchers will use the photographs to obtain the views of a representative sample of people on the appearance of teeth with fluorosis at different levels of severity.

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