A NATIONAL oral health plan supporting fluoridation in water could put pressure on Cairns Regional Council to reintroduce fluoride to the city’s water supply.

Council made the decision to remove the chemical – which dentists say protects teeth from decay – in 2012.

Australia’s National Oral Health Plan for 2015-2024 ­reports its top strategy is to ­ensure there is access to fluoridated water in towns with more than 1000 people.

But Fluoride Action Network Australia said the report, which is tipped to be endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments Health Council today, would force fluoridation on more communities.

President of the action group opposed to water fluoridation, Merilyn Haines, predicted the report would be used to claw back 24 Queensland councils – including Cairns – that have rejected ­fluoridation.

Ms Haines claimed studies had linked fluoridation to lowering IQs.

“From its draft, the new ­National Oral Health Plan can be seen to be a total sham – its major priority and intention is to ensure that water fluoridation is forced on hundreds of thousands more Australians,’’ she said.

The health report stated fluoride in water was crucial for oral health.

“Communities with populations of over 1000 people should have access to reticulated fluoridated water supplies,’’ the report stated.

“Oral conditions are the second most expensive disease group to treat, next to cardiovascular disease.”

The report stated community water fluoridation was cost-effective and there was overwhelming scientific evidence supporting it.

Cairns Regional Councillor Richie Bates has long supported the reintroduction of fluoride into Cairns’ water supply and was the only councillor opposed to its removal in 2012.

“The report should put pressure on council,’’ he said.

“Oral and dental health is a health matter and it should be decided on a state or national level.

“Having said that, council still has an obligation to act to the benefit of the community.

“As a council we should be supporting fluoride.”

State Treasurer Curtis Pitt has also sided with science des­pite concerns in some sectors of the community.