Irish Forum on Fluoridation report (2002)

In 2002 a Forum on Fluoridation established by the Irish Minister for Health and Children published its report following a comprehensive evaluation of the evidence. (1)

The Forum’s investigations identified that, in the 30 years following the introduction of the first fluoridation scheme in Ireland in 1964, all studies conducted over that period showed that tooth decay levels for children and teenagers were lower for those resident in fluoridated communities than for those resident in non-fluoridated communities.

Benefits for 5-year old children

In 1961-63 (before fluoridation), 5-year old children in Ireland’s Western Health Board had an average of 5 decayed, missing and filled teeth.

By 1992, the 5-year olds who were lifelong residents of the areas which by then had been fluoridated for nearly 30 years had an average of 1 tooth affected, only around half the total among children in non-fluoridated areas.

Benefits for 12-year old children

Similarly, dental benefits were found among 12-year old children.  In 1961-63 (before fluoridation), 12-year olds in the Western Health Board had an average of 4.2 decayed, missing and filled teeth.

By 1992, the 12-year olds who were lifelong residents of the areas which by then had been fluoridated for nearly 30 years had an average of 1.6 teeth affected, compared with 2.2 among children in non-fluoridated areas – a 32% difference.

Benefits for adults of all ages

The Forum also looked at the dental benefits for Irish adults.  Citing an Irish Oral Health survey from 1989-90, the Forum’s report explained that:

  • 95% of 25-34 year olds living in fluoridated areas had 20 or more natural teeth, compared with 77% in non-fluoridated areas;

  • 71% of 35-44 year olds living in fluoridated areas had 20 or more natural teeth, compared with 53% in non-fluoridated areas;

  • 16% of those aged 65 and over in fluoridated areas had 20 or more natural teeth, compared with 7% in non-fluoridated areas.

1. Irish Forum on Fluoridation report, 2002

KEY FINDINGS

1. Half the level of tooth decay among 5-year
olds in fluoridated areas of Ireland than
in non-fluoridated ones

2. Around a third less tooth decay among
12-year olds in fluoridated areas of Ireland
than in non-fluoridated ones

3. More younger and older adults retaining
20 or more of their natural teeth in
fluoridated areas than in non-fluoridated
ones