DENTISTS are one of the groups fully behind the fluoridation of our water, especially since Irish children consume some of the highest levels of sugar in Europe and have "poor brushing habits".
Sean Malone, president of the Irish Dental Association, said he has families in his practice who have put a filter on their water to eliminate fluoride and who "have increased decay rates".
In his opinion, fluoride is a "safe and effective way of reducing decay" and "the less money you have, the more you benefit".
The official policy of the Irish Dental Association (IDA), which represents more than 1,500 dentists around the country, is that fluoridation is the "most practical, cost-effective and safe public health measure to control the occurrence of tooth decay in Ireland".
While admitting that it can cause dental fluorosis – damage to tooth enamel – in some cases, the dentists say this is "a primarily aesthetic concern and is less difficult to treat than decay".
It also says that the effects of the fluoridation process are continuously researched here and internationally, and subjected to rigorous review and there is "no evidence of any adverse effects".
Social studies student Martin Cullen has fluorosis, which occurs when the fluoride causes the enamel to pit and leaves brown marks.
"I first noticed it when I was about 12. I was taken to the dentist to get my teeth whitened but afterwards they were still stained," he said.
The 21-year-old from Navan Road, Cabra, said he was told the only solution was expensive veneers.
"I'd need them on all of my teeth so the colour would match, but I was shocked by the cost. It's out of my price bracket.
"The fluoride shouldn't be in the water. It shouldn't be happening. The dental care in this country is expensive enough."