A new product, Cavistat, is 96 per cent more effective than fluoride in preventing tooth decay, according to new research presented yesterday at the International Association of Dental Research conference in Sweden.
The Irish government has always claimed that fluoride plays a vital role in the oral health of the Irish population, especially children, despite international reports claiming the effectiveness of water fluoridation can not be proven.
The Fluoridation Forum report, published last September, showed that 89 per cent of the public disapproved of the government’s mass medication policy.
Cavistat was developed in a joint research programme between the University of New York and the University of Central Venezuela.
It contains digestible components which, unlike fluoride, are safe for young children to swallow.
Excessive ingestion of fluoride during childhood can cause dental fluorosis, a discolouring of permanent teeth. Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation (IDOF) estimate that a third to half of Irish teenagers have dental fluorosis. “This research further undermines the position of Minister for Health Micheal Martin,” said Robert Pocock of anti-fluoridation campaigners VOICE.
“While he continues to insist that Irish public water must contain fluoride, toothpaste manufacturers are already abandoning it in favour of a safer alternative.”
The Labour Party and the Green Party are opposed to the addition of fluoride to the country’s water supply.
There have been no national health tests since the 1960 Health Act – which legalised fluoridation of drinking water – was passed after a 45-day High Court hearing. The Supreme Court later rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of the act.
In 2001, ten local authorities – including Dublin, Kerry, Sligo,Donegal,Leitrim and Longford – and seven urban district councils voted against fluoridation, but remain bound by law to implement the
Since fluoridation of water was first proposed to counter poor oral hygiene in the late 1950s, 98 per cent of Europe has rejected the treatment. Ireland and Singapore are the only countries that still have a national fluoridation policy.
Ortek Therapeutics, which has the worldwide licence for Cavistat, hopes it will replace fluoride in the $5 billion toothpaste sector.