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MANCHESTER TO CONSULT PARENTS ON ADDING FLUORIDE TO SCHOOL MILK

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Manchester City Council's education committee has agreed to consult ...
Manchester City Council's education committee has agreed to consult

with the city's primary schools and parents of pupils attending them on the addition of fluoride to school milk in a bid to reduce the level of tooth decay in children's teeth.

The decision to consult with parents comes after a formal approach to the committee by a representative from Manchester Health Authority. If agreed by parents it would be introduced as part of the children's programme in the Manchester Salford and Trafford Health Action Zone plan to reduce levels of tooth decay amongst children.

The last recorded figures for dental health amongst five year olds living in Manchester produced in 1997/8 show that 61% of five year olds living in the city had some level of tooth decay. This compares with 55% of five year olds living in Salford and 46% of five year olds living in Trafford. The national target for five year olds set by the Oral Health Strategy for England is that 70% of children should be free of tooth decay by 2003.

Fluoride in school milk schemes already exist in other local authority areas both in the north west where an estimated 16000 children regularly receive milk with fluoride in, and beyond. Trial schemes in this country and further afield have shown reductions of between 31% and 67% in tooth decay in the permanent teeth of 11 year old children, after five years of consuming school milk containing fluoride.

Bernard Stone, Manchester City Council's executive member for

education, said: 'Given the level of tooth decay amongst Manchester children we think it would be a good idea to offer school milk with fluoride added for those parents who want this for their children.

'Milk is already recognised as being of vital nutritional value to growing children and the addition of fluoride in school milk supplies would go a long way towards helping improve children?s dental health at the same time.

'Positive measures such as this to reduce tooth decay stand to benefit many local children and are very much welcomed.'

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