high level of tooth decay amongst Stratford youngsters could be down to the lack of
fluoride in parts of their water supply, according to dental experts.
A recent survey of five-year-old shows more tooth decay in Stratford than in any other
area in South Warwickshire, and Warwickshire Health Authoritys consultant in dental
public health Philip Jenkins believes there is only one explanation.
"In 1990 there were problems with the treatment plant for some of the water supply
in Stratford, so it had to be re-built meaning that is was no longer getting fluoridated
to the same level as other areas.
"Because of the nature of the supplies, they are small drill holes which are
scattered around, it would be impossible to build a separate treatment plant for each one.
"However, we have looked at these new figures and there does not seem to be any
other explanation for the rise in tooth disease apart from this lowering of the fluoride
This problem will now be addressed after the water companies channelled several of the
springs into one treatment facility, but Jenkins admits it will take a while to see any
"It is hoped that the water will have the increased fluoride level by the middle
of next year, but it will be another 18 months to 24 months before there is any change in
the level of disease.
"Obviously when you get results like these it does reinforce the benefits of
treating the water with fluoride, and it is not the first area in Warwickshire where this
has shown itself.
"There was a similar situation in Rugby in 1987 when the water was not being
fluoridated so it is hard to put the problem down to anything else.
"The level of tooth decay within Stratford five-year olds averages 1.38 decayed
teeth per child, while the rest of South Warwickshire was less than half of that amount
"When the fluoridation of the water in Stratford stopped in 1990 the area had the
best figures in the county [0.57]."