Relating to the recent posting regarding the review methods of the York review of water fluoridation I would like to point out that this review has been conducted in accordance with the techniques for systematic reviews described by the Cochrane Collaboration and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination in York report no 4. Details regarding the conduct of the review have been available for examination and comment via the web site at York since the beginning of the review process., The web sites mentioned in this posting were part of the initial scoping exercise in order to ascertain the potential size of the literature for planning the review. In all a total of 25 separate electronic databases were searched as well as hand searching of Index Medicus and Excerpta Medica back to the 1940s . Bibliographies of identified papers were also searched. I believe that this is the most thorough search of the literature that has been undertaken for any review of the effects of Water fluoridation. Inclusion and exclusion criteria for had been set at the outset of the review and are available on the website. Papers which fulfilled the criteria have been considered whether they support the "positive" or "negative" effects of fluoridation. The inclusion of members of both side of the debate ( Pro and Anti ) as well as the ability to receive comments via the web has been valuable to the open manner in which this review has been conducted. The systematic review methodology used will result in the most balanced appraisal of the evidence concerning the safety and effectiveness water fluoridation to date. I hope that the dental community will spend the time to read this report when it is published later this year with the diligence and open mindedness that the review team has put into compiling this report.

Derek Richards
Centre for Evidence-based Dentistry
Member of the Advisory Panel