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News / October 30, 2014

Ignoring fluoride evidence is ‘big health risk’

by Guy Hiscott

Ignoring the evidence that shows the damage non-fluoridated water can do to teeth is a ‘big health risk’, says Dr John Walsh, dean of Faculty of Dentistry, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI).

Speaking at the opening of an international scientific meeting hosted by RCSI this week, Current controversies in dental practice, Dr Walsh warned: ‘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% less tooth decay than those living in non-fluoridated areas. To ignore this evidence is taking a big health risk.’

Dr Walsh believes the potential effect of any decision by a local authority to remove fluoridation from Ireland’s public water systems would significantly increase the risk of tooth decay among children across the country.

This comes following comments from Professor Denis O’Mullane, former dean of the Dental School in Cork, who urged anti-fluoride campaigners to reconsider their stance on the fluoride debate and ‘focus on the science’, at a recent conference for HSE dental surgeons in Carlow.

As the public water supply in Northern Ireland is not fluoridated, Professor O’Mullane pointed out that, compared to the Republic, the levels of tooth decay north of the border were more than 40% higher than those in the Republic.

The RSCI scientific meeting is taking place from 30 to 31 October in Dublin.