Thank you Mr President, 

I would like to start by thanking the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee for their excellent report into “Oral Health in Children” on our island. 

I think we can all acknowledge the importance of good oral health, which should begin at a young age, because it does form a very important part of our overall health and wellbeing. 

As the report highlights, poor levels of oral health can affect an individual’s capacity to eat, speak, smile and even to socialise. 

Therefore, I do fully support the Committee’s findings to establish good solid practices in childhood, in order to encourage life-long behavioural patterns. 

In respect of the Committee’s recommendations and the amendments being tabled by the Health and Social Care Minister on behalf of the Council of Ministers, I am happy to support the amendments in respect of recommendations 1 and 2. 

In respect of the recommendation 3, I am happy to support the original recommendation by the Committee, because I cannot support any amendment that could lead to the introduction of fluoride into our water supply here on the Island. 

The message back from my own Constituents in Onchan is a simple one – “no to fluoride” in our water supply. The Oral Health Strategy document dated 2021 – 2026 highlights the fact that children on the island have more untreated decay that their counterparts in the England. 

If this government genuinely wants to invest in our children’s oral health, then we need to deliver a comprehensive action plan that increases the number of dentists we have on the island, in order to help reduce the significant waiting list to access an NHS dentist on the island for both adults and children. 

We also need more education around preventing tooth decay in the first place, especially around the consumption of certain foods and soft drinks, along with a firm commitment to improve the overall oral health of our young people. 

Thank you Mr President.