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Written by Vicki Gough, Chatham Daily News
Results of a study comparing changes in children’s dental health where fluoride is no longer added to the municipal water supply is exactly what Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health expected.
“This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone,” Dr. David Colby told The Chatham Daily News Monday.
A study published in this month’s issue of Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology compared Grade 2 students in both Edmonton and Calgary, and found that fluoride cessation in Calgary in 2011 has had a negative impact on children’s teeth.
“This (study) has re-ignited the fluoridation debate in Windsor,” Colby said.
Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health said there hasn’t been a study in Windsor, “but dentists are seeing more and bigger cavities in children” where fluoride went missing from their drinking water.
Windsor city council made that decision under pressure from interest groups to remove fluoride several years ago.
“I think some people are putting pressure on council to reverse what most observers thought was a very unwise decision,” Colby said.
The politicians ignored the recommendation of their own public health department in stopping water fluoridation in Windsor,” he added.
Chatham’s water supply contains natural fluoride.
“We put a very small supplement in to bring it up to the optimal level,” Colby said.
Other communities, especially in the Ridgetown and Highgate area, have naturally high fluoride (levels) in their water.
Colby said fluoride is a natural mineral that’s not associated with any adverse health effects.
“If you have too much fluoride in your water, the only thing you get is a bit of mottling of the teeth called fluorosis,” he said.
The medical officer of health described the condition of whitened markings on teeth exposed to high levels of fluoride as cosmetic.
“There isn’t any measurable negative impact on health,” Colby said.
Both the Ontario minister of health and chief medical officer of health of Ontario penned letters dated Jan. 7 asking municipalities to “really think twice about removing fluoride from their water,” he said.
“The science is very clear that fluoride prevents tooth decay. It’s easy to do and it very much benefits poorer kids who don’t have access to as much dental care as more affluent people,” Colby said.
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