RCSI fluoride warning

After recent votes against fluoridation, Dr John Walsh says that banning fluoride would be a ‘big health risk’

Removing fluoride from public water systems would seriously harm the dental health of the children in Ireland, according to RCSI dental dean Dr John Walsh.

Both Dublin and Cork City Councils have voted to ban fluoride from the water supply in recent months, with the express intention of placing pressure on the government.

Speaking at the RCSI’s annual scientific meeting, Dr Walsh said removal of fluoride could significantly increase the risk of tooth decay among children.

He said: “All of the robust scientific data demonstrates that fluoridation protects against tooth decay. Studies of children’s oral health consistently showed that those living in areas with fluoridated water had 18 per cent less tooth decay than those living in non-fluoridated areas.

“To ignore this evidence is taking a big health risk. Parents of children must also take responsibility for oral hygiene. Irish dental surgeries are brimming with children under seven who are already showing signs of irreparable tooth decay from over consumption of sugar sweetened drink and treats.”

However, Owen Boyden, director of the West Cork Fluoride Free Campaign, said: “Dublin City Council passing an anti-fluoride motion puts the Irish Government under renewed political pressure to end their isolated and dangerous mandatory public water fluoridation policy which results in the medication without consent of the entire Irish population and continues to cause widespread cosmetic damage (fluorosis) to thousands of people around the country.

“Not one other European Government maintain a similar policy due to health, environmental, legal or ethical concerns. Violating human rights to consent before medication, bodily integrity and breaching European food and medicinal product directives, the policy continues to adversely effect public health in Ireland and poses one the biggest threats to our very valuable food and drinks industry the country has ever seen.”