Fluorides & your oral health

Water Fluoridation and the appropriate use of fluorides play a major part in public health policy in Ireland in the prevention and management of tooth decay. Fluoridation began in Ireland in 1964 on foot of the Health (Fluoridation of Water Supplies) Act 1960. Currently, approximately 68.5% of the population receives fluoridated public water supplies.

Water fluoridation is one of the most widely studied public health policy initiatives in the world, with approximately 350 million people in some 60 countries globally residing in areas served by optimally fluoridated water supplies.

At the Sixtieth World Health Assembly (WHA60.17, Agenda item 12.9 23) in May 2007, on oral health: an action plan for promotion and integrated disease prevention, supported water fluoridation as a central strategy in oral health promotion. It explicitly recommended that "for those countries without access to optimal levels of fluoride, and which have not yet established systematic fluoridation programmes, to consider the development and implementation of fluoridation programmes, giving priority to equitable strategies such as the automatic administration of fluoride, for example, in drinking-water, salt or milk, and to the provision of affordable fluoride toothpaste;" (World Health Organisation 2007).

The effectiveness of water fluoridation in preventing tooth decay continues to be endorsed by a comprehensive range of authoritative international bodies including the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States Public Health Service , the United States Surgeon General, the Federation Dentaire Internationale/ World Dental Federation and the International Association for Dental Research.