Milk fluoridation programmes

Although the Foundation has greatly extended its work in wider areas of prevention, milk fluoridation remains a priority.

The use of fluorides is widely recognised as a key measure for the prevention of dental disease. Equitable strategies for the automatic distribution of fluoride have been advocated by leading agencies, a good example of this being water fluoridation. Salt and milk have also been used as vehicles for the delivery of fluoride at a population level.

The nutritional value of milk is well documented; milk can make a significant contribution to the human diet through the provision of macro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The subject of milk and oral health has also been extensively researched. Milk is often made available to children through school nutritional programmes, and it is existing distribution systems of this kind that have provided a cost-efficient ‘vehicle’ for the targeted delivery of fluoride.

The Foundation is currently providing support for community-based milk fluoridation programmes in Chile, United Kingdom and Thailand. These have been developed by central or local government departments / agencies and are operated through schools and kindergartens, forming part of wider health promotion initiatives.

The charity has been and remains the principal sponsor for studies into milk fluoridation globally.Support has been provided for extensive basic science that has helped to establish the biological plausibility of fluoridated milk as a caries preventive measure and for clinical studies, examining the efficacy and effectiveness of this method of intervention.To date this has resulted in some 350 publications. These have been brought together in abstract form on a database which is available from the Foundation on request.