Special plans to introduce fluoridised milk into Blackpool’s primary schools moved one step closer after the scheme was backed by health chiefs.
At a meeting of Blackpool Council’s Health and Wellbeing board yesterday it was resoundingly agreed to push forward plans to provide milk to 77 primary schools in the town.
Dr Arif Rajpura, Blackpool’s director of public health said: “Ideally we would like fluoridised water to be provided so that everyone has access to it, but that seems to be off the cards at the moment, with cost being an issue.
“The next best thing is milk fluoridisation.
“Fluoride is found in toothpaste and works to a degree on the teeth, but is soon washed off.
“But fluoride which is ingested can be continually secreted in the mouth through saliva.
“Some people have raised concerns about fluorosis, which leads to a mottling of the teeth, but the fluoridisation of milk is very safe.
“This is a no brainer from my perspective.
“We have an opportunity to give kids the best chance in life, through the free breakfasts, free milk and now fluoridised milk.”
Despite some board members raising concerns the plans could see milk being forced on children whose parents say neither yes or no to the allowance, it was agreed to provide clear information on the benefits of fluoridised milk to allow for an informed decision.
Following the board’s agreement to the plans, the scheme will be rolled out when final agreement has been received from Blackpool Council.
Fluoride in milk – why is it needed?
The dental health of youngsters in the town is among the worst in the country, with more than one in three five-year-olds having at least one unhealthy tooth.
By the time they reach the age of 12, the figure increases to 43 per cent, compared to 33.4 per cent nationally, according to official figures.
Children in the town also have 3.85 unhealthy teeth on average, compared to 3.45 nationally.
A council report said: “Dental milk schemes, using milk fortified with fluoride, are widely accepted as the next best option if water fluoridation cannot be achieved.”
Click here to read how The Gazette broke the story: Flouride plan for school milk to target decay