HEALTH bosses have ruled out adding fluoride to Bolton’s water supply — despite advice from Public Health England that it could improve people’s dental health.

The pledge comes as latest figures reveal 43.4 per cent of under-fives — more than 2,800 youngsters — in Bolton already have tooth decay.

Public Health England has urged councils to consider adding fluoride to water as a “safe and effective” public health measure. It has carried out research into what impact it has had in areas with fluoridated water.

But Cllr Linda Thomas, deputy leader of Bolton Council, said the council had no plans to hold a referendum into the issue, which would require the other Greater Manchester authorities to join together with a common policy.

The results from Public Health England found that areas such as Birmingham, where the water supply has the chemical artificially added in, five-year-olds are 15 per cent less likely to have had tooth decay, and the number is greater in deprived communities.

Cllr Thomas said: “The benefits of water fluoridation to oral health are well reported.

“In Bolton, we share our water supply with other local authorities and any decision to look into this matter further would be made in partnership with the other councils concerned.

“This is not something we are actively considering at the present time.

“We will continue to secure programmes such as ‘brushing for life’ and oral health promotion support to schools, and we are currently reviewing all our oral health promotion work.”

The issue of water fluoridation has been strongly contested in Bolton for many years, with an initial referendum on the issue taking place back in 1968.

David Crausby, the MP for Bolton North East, Cwho is a campaigner against mass fluoridation, welcomed the news.

He said: “I understand the arguments about children’s teeth, but each individual should decide what they take in their water. It’s fundamental.

“If you agree to the principle that the government can add to water, they might put all sorts of things in the water.

“Our water should be pure and to put fluoride in water is mass medication, which is illegal.”