In the North East, areas with fluoridation have less decay in 5 year old children and rates of decay are around double in non-fluoridated areas.
Data demonstrates that there is a huge difference in acute infection and pain between children growing up in fluoridated Gateshead and Newcastle, compared with non-fluoridated Middlesbrough and Sunderland. This is 2 - 3 times the difference.
Sadly, infected teeth and severely decayed teeth causing pain need to be extracted. Here are the rates of extraction across the North East:
Unsurprisingly, there is a trend of more extractions in Sunderland, Darlington and Middlesbrough compared to Gateshead and North Tyneside. Again, these can be over 3 times the difference.
According to evidence, we can expect 59% fewer hospital admissions in fluoridated areas and this certainly seems to be the case in Teesside. Hartlepool has half the rates of general anaesthetics compared with non-fluoridated Redcar & Cleveland and Middlesbrough.
In addition, In Darlington, Middlesbrough and Sunderland; decayed front teeth is the reality for 1 in 10 children and the local data shows fluoridation can half these rates.
Evidence tells us that fluoridation benefits everyone, especially less privileged children. Therefore, it is great at reducing inequalities and we can expect to see tooth decay reductions of 53% in the most deprived communities, compared to 23% in affluent communities. The gap in decay rates between rich and poor in Hartlepool is much smaller than the rest of non-fluoridated Teesside.
Although we have talked about all the benefits of fluoridation, it is important to consider the potential side effects - one of these being mild fluorosis. It affects a small number of children but rates are higher in fluoridated Newcastle compared to non-fluoridated Manchester.