Let us start this by saying we are looking at the fluoride debate itself, not which side is right or wrong. We encourage everyone to read each resource mentioned critically and to participate in the comments below. One major issue with the fluoride debate, like many other topics today, is that there is so much information (and misinformation) out there. In this post, we will go over the reason for fluoridation and a couple of the arguments against it.
Let’s start with the reason why we have had fluoride added to our water in Ireland. According to the HSE, the fluoridation of piped public water supplies is a public health measure designed for the prevention and control of dental decay . The Irish Government introduced the measure in the 1950s . Ireland is currently the only European country that has a mandatory water fluoridation policy. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) carried out a comprehensive study titled “Assessment of dietary exposure to fluoride in adults and children in Ireland” , which the FSAI published in April 2018. The study found that the levels of fluoride consumed by the members of the Irish public were not of any concern.
Arguments against water fluoridisation
There has been a large number of claims made against water fluoridisation. That said, researchers have debunked many of these claims, leaving only a few that may have some weight. One of the biggest arguments against water fluoridisation is that it lowers one’s IQ. Snopes is a website that exists to debunk myths and fact check. When researching for this post, I came across Snope’s article debunking the myth of how water fluoridisation reduces your IQ . That said, the author points out that the journal Environmental Health Perspectives published a study that “is stronger than many used to draw a connection between IQ and fluoride in the past, it is a single study that has yet to be replicated”. In my research, I found a more recent study that does seem to account for fluoride in beverages, which researchers carried out in Canada. You can click here to read the study titled “Association Between Maternal Fluoride Exposure During Pregnancy and IQ Scores in Offspring in Canada”  by JAMA Pediatrics (Website link).
Another argument against having too much fluoride is dental fluorosis. While this can be an effect of too much fluoride, researchers have also said that it is not dangerous. In a University College of Cork (UCC) study titled “Fluoride And Caring for Children’s Teeth (FACCT): Clinical Fieldwork Protocol” , researchers found that most dental fluorosis in Ireland did not weaken teeth or need any dental treatment. They also provide an easy-to-consume infographic on tooth decay and fluoride here .
As I mentioned, there are many more arguments against water fluoridation that I won’t go into depth on in this post. These include the ideas that fluoride is not an essential nutrient, that the ‘dosage’ of fluoride should be not the dependant on the amount of water you drink, or that fluoride negatively affects animals and wildlife . That said, make sure you read all information critically, research and don’t take anything for granted on either side.
If water fluoridation is a concern for you, you can reach out to us for more information on it. If you have decided that you do not want fluoride in your water, you can take a look at which filters remove fluoride in our other post here.