A Chatham-Kent health official agrees with Health Minister Eric Hoskins that municipalities should be cautious about doing away with water fluoridation, given the benefits that it provides to the public.
Last month, Hoskins sent a letter to municipalities urging them to support the fluoridation of drinking water in their communities “so that everyone can enjoy the long-term health benefits.”
The letter was also signed by David C. Williams, the province’s acting chief medical officer of health.
The two officials also said that more and more communities are scrapping fluoridation programs “in spite of consistent evidence that water fluoridation is a safe and effective method to reduce the risk of oral health problems for Ontarians.”
David Colby of the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit said it’s hard to argue with the points made in the letter.
“I think it makes perfect sense and I support it in every way,” Colby said Thursday, when speaking with CBC Radio’s Afternoon Drive.
Colby said the province should be taking a leadership role on the issue.
“I do believe, in general, in decentralization and local government, but when it comes to health issues that affect everyone, then broad-reaching solutions are best,” he said.
“And the scientific data is very, very clear — the fluoridation of water is safe and healthy and really does a wonderful job in preventing tooth decay and especially in poorer children whose parents can’t afford topical fluoride treatments at the dentist. So this is a win-win for everybody.”
Colby said the water in the Chatham-Kent area has “a fair degree of natural fluoride” in it, though it is still fluoridated.
Further down Highway 401 in Windsor, however, a decision was made several years ago to stop the fluoridation of water.
Colby said this idea has been “raised from time to time” in the Chatham-Kent area, but so far, fluoridation has continued.