Dáil Éireann - Volume 487 - 11 February, 1998

Written Answers. - Dental Fluorosis.

110. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Health and Children the last known statistics in a given year for the incidence of fluorosis in the country. [3587/98]

[179] Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): The beneficial effect of optimal water fluoridation in the prevention of dental caries is well established in Ireland and internationally. Dean and co-workers, 1946, concluded that this beneift was obtained with a known risk of questionable or mild fluorosis based on Dean's index of fluorosis — normal, questionable, very mild, mild, moderate, severe.

Studies of 8 year old children were conducted in the western, 1991, north-eastern, 1993, eastern, 1993, and southern, 1995 regions. The results show that in the Southern and Western Health Boards between 91 per cent of children showed no signs of dental fluorosis in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas. In the east and north-eastern region approximately 75 per cent of 8 year olds had no evidence of dental fluorosis, 19.5 per cent had questionable fluorosis which is not detectable to an untrained eye, with 5.5 per cent in the very mild or mild category. Other studies in the mid-west, north-west and south-east are incomplete. Overall, the levels of fluorosis are still lower than that predicted by Dean in 1946 and in similar communities in the United States with fluoridated water supplies.