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We are a group of dentists opposed to the policy of public water fluoridation. Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation (IDOF) is a support group for fellow dental professionals who wish to express their opposition to the practice of mass medicating our drinking water with fluoride. Our primary aim is to highlight the undemocratic, unethical and unsafe nature of fluoridation in Ireland. As dentists, we have to lead the way in reducing the public’s exposure to this toxic chemical. A chemical which, the Irish Medicines Board declares is not registered as a medicine, is unlicensed and has never been proved safe or effective for use on humans.

We are opposed to water fluoridation for the following reasons:

  1. Infringement of our human rights.

    Currently, 75% of the Irish population receives drinking water dosed with fluoride. Fluoridation is compulsory. There is no freedom to choose with this form of medication. You get it, whether you need it or not. Moreover, the Irish government has never requested the free informed consent of the population to give them fluoride in their water supply. This is contrary to the Council of Europe’s ‘Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine’ (1997).

  2. Dental Fluorosis.

    Dental fluorosis is tooth damage caused by swallowing fluoride. This is seen as white lines or spots in the teeth. In more severe cases, there is pitting and brown staining with loss of the tooth enamel. This fluoride damage is on the increase in Ireland. Current estimates, of dental fluorosis, state that between 24-50% of all children and teenagers have some form of this condition. There is a direct link between fluorosis and total fluoride intake i.e. fluoride from all sources. We now receive fluoride from so many different sources such as dental products (e.g. fluoride toothpaste), food (e.g. tea, fish and fruit juices), foods processed with fluoridated water (e.g. canned soups and beer), pollution (e.g. unleaded petrol), pesticides (e.g. cryolite) and pharmaceuticals (e.g. Prozac).

  3. Health damage.

There are numerous international scientific studies linking fluoride/fluoridation with serious health conditions such as hip fractures, cancer, osteoporosis, thyroid dysfunction, neurological impairment and irritable bowel syndrome.

We are not alone in our concerns about the fluoridation of public water supplies. Like other dentists, we now believe that the proposed benefits of fluoride in reducing tooth decay are topical (i.e. fluoride in contact with the tooth e.g. via toothpaste or through professional use of materials). Therefore, it would seem logical that if the benefits are topical and the risks are systemic, then why continue water fluoridation, which produces the least benefit with the greatest risk of damage.

Most dentists would refuse to prescribe for a patient he has never met, whose medical history he does not know, a substance which is intended to create bodily change; with the advice, take as much as you like but you will take it for the rest of your life, because some children have tooth decay. This is the water fluoridation ethos.

Therefore, we feel water fluoridation is ethically, medically and scientifically unsound.