HUDDERSFIELD people could be drinking fluoridated water in future, following a decision by MPs.
MPs voted last night in favour of giving health authorities powers to order water companies to fluoridate water supplies.
But health authorities would have to consult with local people first.
West Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority, which covers Kirklees, has not yet made plans to ask for fluoridation.
A spokeswoman said: "We are awaiting more guidance from the Government about what our role is and how we are expected to consult people. We will certainly not be starting consultations next week, or anything like that."
Yorkshire Water said it would not fluoridate any supplies until ordered to do so by the health authority.
Supporting fluoridation in the Parliamentary vote were 284 MPs, with 181 against.
Those against the move included Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and new Tory leader Michael Howard.
The amount of fluoride added to tap water will be tiny.
Water companies have had the power to fluoridate supplies since 1985 and until the industry was privatised in 1989, most supplies had the added chemical.
But since 1989, Yorkshire Water, like most suppliers, has not fluoridated water for fear of legal action from unhappy consumers.
The MPs' decision follows a long-running debate.
Those in favour, including the British Dental Association and former health secretaries Alan Milburn, Frank Dobson, Kenneth Clarke and Lord Fowler, claim it would help cut tooth decay in children by up to 15%. They claim dental health has worsened since fluoridation stopped.
However, those against fear fluoride could cause brittle bones, discoloured teeth and even cancer.
They also say adding fluoride to the water supply takes away an individual's choice.
Dr Sohail Bhatti, director of public health for Huddersfield, welcomed the MPs' decision.
He said: "We know that adding fluoride to the water supply is the single most effective way of improving people's dental health, and in particular reducing the number of fillings and extractions suffered by children.
"Before water privatisation, the water supply for Huddersfield was fluoridated and the level of decay was half the national average. It has since doubled when water companies withdrew local fluoridation."
Dr Bhatti dismissed claims of health problems caused by fluoride.