During this upcoming municipal election, Parry Sound voters will have their say on whether fluoride should be added to the town water.
There has been a lot of misinformation on the “harms” of fluoride in town water supplies and a serious downplay of the benefits. As health professionals we serve as first-hand witnesses to the impact that poor dental hygiene has on the overall health of the community, and feel obliged to speak up on this most important issue.
Cavities are the most common and preventable chronic disease on Earth. Those most affected include children, the elderly, and low-income populations. Cavities cost Canadians over a billion dollars a year. They cost us in lost days of work, lost days of school, trips to the emergency department and costs to the health-care system.
Cavities are preventable and fluoride is one of the key aspects of prevention. There are those opposed to fluoride in our drinking water citing so-called “experts” who make claims of health risks with fluoride in town water. We live in a time where science and evidence have given way to fear.
The truth is, fluoride in drinking water has been scientifically studied for over 70 years without ever finding evidence that the low levels recommended in municipal drinking water have any negative health effects. What is known, is that when fluoride was first introduced in drinking water there were fewer cavities compared to neighbouring communities without fluoride. In recent years, when communities have voted to remove fluoride from drinking water, cavity rates have risen. It is true that swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause your teeth to stain (known as fluorosis); an uncommon finding even in those who brush regularly and have fluoride in their town water.
Can too much fluoride be harmful? Yes, if you intentionally try to ingest a toxic amount of fluoride it theoretically could be. But so can iron, vitamin D and even water itself if you manage to take too much of it. The point is, there are no known negative health effects from the amounts of fluoride added to municipal drinking water, despite decades of study on the topic.
Don’t believe us, that’s fine. Listen to the recommendations of any reputable health organization that have addressed the topic. The Canadian Dental Association, Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Paediatric Society, Canadian Public Health Association, Health Canada and the World Health Organization all recommend fluoridation in town water. There’s a reason the United States Centre for Disease Control lists fluoride in town water as one of the top ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.
Will updating our fluoridation system cost money? Yes, but not as much as it will to deal with all the cavities we will face if we don’t.
It’s worth noting that no Canadian town has ever removed fluoride from water because of actual health concerns related to these low levels of fluoride. Fluoride has only been removed because of fear, misinformation and unproven health concerns. Parry Sound is better than this. Let’s not compromise the health of our community out of ignorance.
Dr. Jonathan Witt, Dr. Ali Witt, Dr. John Brennan, Dr. Richard Woodhouse, Dr. Karen Mills, Dr. Phebe Gray, Dr. Alethea Anderson, Dr. Chris Ibey, Dr. Margaret Ibey, Dr. Kathleen Moquin, Dr. Kim Warwick, Dr. Maureen Thompson, Dr. Bradley Hunkin, Dr. Victoria Smith, Dr. Timothy Redmond, Dr. Claudia Soto, Dr. Heather Smith, Dr. Derek George, Dr. Leigh Davis, Dr. Robert Guthrie, Dr. Ashley Lawrence-Leger, Dr. Wendy Wilson,