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Public attitudes to water fluoridation in the North East of England


Introduction Local authorities in the North East of England plan to conduct a public consultation on community water fluoridation. Monitoring public opinion is an important consideration.

Aims To measure public attitudes in five areas in the North East of England, to determine respondents' sources of information and their awareness of the current fluoridation status of their local water supply.

Methods A face-to-face quota sample with quotas set for age, gender and district using six closed questions plus demographics. The questions and sample size were based on earlier similar studies.

Results Just over one-third of respondents (283/761, 37%) had read or heard about fluoridation over the previous 12 months. Their main sources of information were local newspapers followed by dental practices. A substantial minority believed, incorrectly, that their water supply was already fluoridated. Sixty percent of respondents were in favour of adding fluoride to the water supply to prevent dental decay while 16% were opposed.

Conclusion and recommendation Public opinion in the North East of England remains favourable to community water fluoridation. Monitoring public opinion should be conducted on a regular basis.

Key points

  • Presents the results of a study of public opinion on water fluoridation in an area proposed for new schemes in the North East of England.

  • Highlights the consistencies and variations within the studied populations.

  • Puts these results in a national, longitudinal context.

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Correspondence to Raymond J. Lowry.

Ethics declarations

RJL is secretary/treasurer of the British Fluoridation Society. MAL is council member and former chairman of the British Fluoridation Society. RB is an employee of the organisation that undertook the survey.

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Lowry, R., Brophy, R. & Lennon, M. Public attitudes to water fluoridation in the North East of England. Br Dent J (2021).

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