Scotland and the Netherlands: inconvenient examples


Following on from information on fluoride concentrations of the drinking water of western European communities, I have listed fluoride concentrations in drinking water of the 10 largest population centres in each of Scotland and the Netherlands. Neither country inflicts forced-fluoridation on its population. Scotland ceased in 1983 (Attwood 1992, 41) and the Netherlands ceased in 1973, prior to which 38% of the Dutch population was directly subjected to it (Attwood 1992, 33). It can be seen that the fluoride concentrations are uniformly very low in comparison with the typical nominal concentrations used for artificially fluoride-contaminated water of 0.7 to 1.0 ppm. Salt fluoridation and milk fluoridation, and any other kind of artificial fluoridation of food or drink, also appear to be non-existent or negligible in both countries. “In Europe, meaningful percentages of users [of fluoridated salt] have been attained only in Germany (67%) and Switzerland (85%).” (Marthaler 2013, 140) and “The sale of fluoridated salt would be legal in Greece and in the Netherlands but there seems to be no interest in this preventive method.” (Marthaler 2013, 148). The use of fluoride tablets/lozenges or drops has not been routine in western Europe for many years. In the Netherlands, the massive “improvement in dental health” in 12-year-old children after the cessation of forced-fluoridation “could not be attributed to administration of fluoride supplements [sic], because the sales of fluoride tablets had always been low and were decreasing continuously.” (König 2004, 170) In Scotland the Childsmile program is in place, and I could find no reference to any kind of systemic artificial fluoridation on its website. The only references to milk fluoridation in Scotland which were found (elsewhere) were a couple of papers from the first half of the 1980s. I didn’t find any information on milk fluoridation in the Netherlands.

Rainy night in Edinburgh. Text at top: Scotland says McFuck off to forced fluoride – Text at bottom: Most countries just say fuck off to forced fluoride. Lazy bastards. How hard is it to say "Mc"?

The Malmö University website has information on global oral health, which is linked to by the World Health Organization website. This includes DMFT (decayed, missing and filled permanent teeth) data for 12-year-olds, and dmft (decayed, missing and filled deciduous teeth) for various younger age groups. The way the information is presented has changed from when I updated this page in 2019. Previously, the latest information for Scotland was from 2010-2011, with a DMFT of 0.7 for 12-year-olds. This information is no longer available on the Country/Area page, but there is a page about the Childsmile program which indicates that the DMFT and dmft for Scottish children have fallen since the program was fully implemented in 2011. The page states: “The Scottish Government and National Health Service (NHS) Scotland are at the forefront of child oral health improvement.”

The figure for DMFT for 12-year-olds in the Netherlands was 0.6, from 2006, but for some reason now appears on the Country/Area page as 0.80, from 2002. Previously in the Netherlands, the feared deterioration of dental health “miraculously did not happen; on the contrary, the changes in the average DMFT of 12-year-old children over the whole country show that the decrease of caries prevalence had only just started when water fluoridation ceased in 1973; the average DMFT of 8 [in 1965 (Marthaler 2004, 176)] in 12-year-old children consistently decreased to a DMFT of 1 by the mid 1990s” (König 2004, 170).

DMFT for 12-year-olds in the Republic of Ireland, which is the only country in Europe in which the majority of the population is directly subjected to forced-fluoridation, is 1.60, from 2001. The figures for the majority force-fluoridated USA (1999-2004) and Australia (2009), respectively, are 1.20 and 1.05. The trend in Australia since recording 0.8 in the year 2000 has been upwards. Comparing dmft for Scotland and the Netherlands, on the one hand, with Ireland, the USA, and Australia, on the other, reveals a similar picture of no clear benefit.

The myth that fluoride is a nutrient was debunked by animal studies conducted in the 20th century, a fact which has been officially recognised in the US and Europe. No individual person requires any fluoride for good dental health. The examples of Scotland and the Netherlands show that countries also do not require any form of artificial food or drink fluoridation, or fluoride concentrations in drinking water comparable to those used for forced-fluoridation, in order to achieve rates of dental caries in 12-year-olds which are low both in comparison with force-fluoridated countries, and by historical standards. The forced-fluoridation floggers would perhaps respond that such comparisons do not take confounding factors into account. If they had some good quality, independent research they could cite maybe they would have a case. In reality, the marketing “studies” they rely on are of very poor quality, take no account either of several potentially important confounding factors or of systematic measurement error, and are typically funded by corporations such as Colgate-Palmolive, so they do not have a leg to stand on. Note that the evidence for benefit in adults is even weaker than that for children, if that is possible.

All figures below are in parts per million (ppm), or equivalently milligrams per litre (mg/L).


Scottish Water

Milngavie C3 (G22 5AA) 0.04, Picketlaw (G76 0AA) less than 0.04, Carron Valley B (G63 0AA) 0.06
Glencorse C (EH20 4AA) 0.05, Castle Moffat (EH41 3AA) 0.06, Marchbank A (EH27 8AA) less than 0.04
Mannofield East (AB10 1AA) 0.07, Mannofield South (AB13 0AA) 0.08, Invercannie (AB31 4AA) 0.10
Clatto West (DD2 3UP) 0.04, Clatto East (DD5 3DQ) 0.04
Daer C (ML1 3BZ) 0.04, Daer Coulter (ML1 2RW) less than 0.04
Carron Valley A (FK1 1LD) 0.04
Balmore B (ML5 2LB) 0.04, Balmore C (ML5 3AJ) 0.04
Daer Camps A (ML3 6AA) 0.04, Daer C (ML3 8PZ) 0.04
East Kilbride
Daer B (G75 8SA) 0.04
Glendevon A (KY12 7AU) 0.05

The Netherlands

city population list from eurostat

Berenplaat (3197 XA) 0.18, Kralingen (3113 AA) 0.18
The Hague
Scheveningen 0.21, Katwijk 0.23, Monster 0.22
Dunea Duin & Water
Amersfoort Berg 0.06, Laren 0.06, Zeist 0.09
Vitens (water quality)
Vitens (water quality reports)
Eindhoven 0.075, Welschap 0.053
Brabant Water
De Groeve 0.09, De Punt 0.06, Nietap 0.06, Onnen 0.11, Sellingen less than 0.05
Waterbedrijf Groningen
La Cabine 0.06, Fikkersdries 0.06, Oosterbeek 0.08
Vitens (water quality)
Vitens (water quality reports)
Weerseloseweg 0.09, Wierden 0.11, Nijverdal less than 0.05
Vitens (water quality)
Vitens (water quality reports)
Dorst 0.081, Oosterhout 0.084
Brabant Water
Engelse Werk 0.09
Vitens (water quality)
Vitens (water quality reports)


  1. Attwood D (1992). Dental health of children before and after the cessation of water fluoridation: volume 1 [PhD thesis]. Department of Conservative Dentistry, University of Glasgow.
  2. Childsmile
  3. König KG (2004). Clinical manifestations and treatment of caries from 1953 to global changes in the 20th century. Caries Research 38: 168-172.
  4. Malmö University Oral Health Country/Area Profile Project
  5. Malmö University (Childsmile)
  6. Marthaler TM (2004). Changes in dental caries 1953-2003. Caries Research 38: 173-181.
  7. Marthaler TM (2013). Salt fluoridation and oral health. Acta Medica Academica 42(2): 140-155.
  8. WHO Oral Health Country/Area Profile Programme

Sources of fluoride exposure