More than 8,000 children in Blackpool are to be offered fluoridated milk after councillors approved a proposal to introduce it to the town’s existing free breakfast scheme.
Blackpool Council’s executive agreed a recommendation after hearing the scheme would help reduce the risk of tooth decay.
It is hoped the milk, which is recommended by the World Health Organisation, will help tackle poor dental hygiene among children in the town.
Figures show almost half of 12-year-olds in Blackpool have at least one decayed, missing or filled tooth – much higher than the national average of 33 per cent.
But parents will be able to opt out if they wish.
Coun Graham Cain, cabinet secretary for Blackpool Council, said: “Unfortunately the state of Blackpool’s dental health is very poor.
“However, where some parts of the country can benefit from fluoride naturally appearing in their daily drinking water, in Blackpool we cannot.
“What we do have is a method through the free breakfast programme that allows us to reach all primary school children as they are growing up and make the fluoride milk available to them there.”
But some concerns have been raised about the proposal.
Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council, said: “Parents now have to be really assured and confident that it is the right move for their child.
“And if they don’t think it is, they need to contact their children’s school.”
The proposal was first put forward in 2013 but delayed while further studies were carried out. These found children in the town have lower than normal levels of fluoride in their bodies.
The study examined pre-school children and monitored the levels of fluoride currently in their system.
A group will now be formed combining Blackpool Council, Public Health England, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and oral health charity the Borrow Foundation to oversee the application and implementation of the scheme.