According to a July Leger poll, 58 per cent of respondents said they supported returning fluoride to the city’s water supply

Alberta Health Services is launching a public education campaign endorsing the benefits of fluoride in drinking water ahead of Calgary’s plebiscite this fall.

On Oct. 18, Calgarians will get another chance to vote on whether to bring back fluoride to the city’s taps. This will mark the seventh time fluoride has been put to a vote since the 1950s, with Calgary beginning fluoridating drinking water in 1991 before city council voted to remove it in 2011.

AHS has an official pro-fluoride stance, calling fluoridated tap water a “foundational public health measure to prevent dental disease, improve oral health and reduce inequities within communities.”

Community water fluoridation is also endorsed by more than 90 other professional health organizations, including Health Canada and the Canadian Dental Association, AHS noted in a news release Thursday.

“Although there is fluoride in all fresh water, community water fluoridation is needed to adjust the fluoride level in the public water supply to the level recommended to prevent tooth decay,” the news release reads.

“Similar to other Canadian provinces, tooth decay continues to be a common health problem in Alberta, for children and adults. These preventable oral health issues are most prevalent among disadvantaged people who do not have the financial resources to receive dental care. Community water fluoridation offers significant benefit and reaches all residents who are connected to a municipal water supply.”As part of the campaign, AHS is asking residents to follow Alberta Health Services’ social media pages, visit the Calgary Community Water Fluoridation web page, and visit for more information.

In a Leger poll for Postmedia in July, 58 per cent of 464 respondents said they supported returning fluoride to the city’s water supply. Sixteen per cent said they were undecided, while 26 per cent said they were not supportive.

Back in March, University of Calgary medical bioethicist Dr. Juliet Guichon said she wanted to see action from the province on educating Calgarians on fluoride.

A decade ago, city council — without a plebiscite — chose to remove fluoride, but since then studies have shown the move has led to dramatically higher levels of tooth decay, particularly among children.

“There’s going to be dissemination of information, which requires money, and we very much hope AHS will do what was done in the successful 1998 plebiscite,” Guichon said at the time.

City staff say reintroducing fluoride would cost $30.1 million over a 20-year service life, but the cost wouldn’t drive up water utility rates.

— With files from Bill Kaufmann

*Original article online at