I am writing to express my concern regarding the article published on Parry Sound.com entitled Anti-fluoride Group Opposes Parry Sound Public Meeting on Issue (Sept. 24, 2018).

The upcoming vote on the water fluoridation in Parry Sound is a very important one. It will affect the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in your community — such as your children, your poor and elderly. We ask that you include the voice of public health when presenting information on this topic.

It may seem expensive to upgrade the water system, but the money the community spends for fluoride in the water is saved when the community doesn’t have to pay for their most vulnerable people to receive dental treatment. Some estimates say we save as much as $38 in dental treatment for every $1 we spend fluoridating the drinking water.

It is also important to note that fluoride levels are monitored very carefully to ensure they are kept at a safe and effective level.

The health of your teeth is important and can affect your overall health in many ways. Consider the following:

Seniors make up 26.5 per cent of the population in the Parry Sound district, and 13.4 per cent live in low-income households. According to the Canadian Dental Association, 53 per cent of adults aged 60 to 79 years do not have dental insurance. As a result, more than 13 per cent avoid the dentist, and even more decline treatment due to the cost. Many seniors take medication that can cause dry mouth and lead to cavities. Their poor dental health can lead to malnutrition, serious infection and depression. When you fluoridate the water, you ensure that this vulnerable group of people — as well as children, the poor and the disabled — are receiving protection from decay and cavities.

It has been my experience that Parry Sound is a closely knit community. You care about one another.

When the health of everyone in the community is prioritized, a community thrives. As the Medical Officer of Health, I want to reassure you that public health fully supports the addition of fluoride to our municipal drinking water system, and I am not alone in this recommendation. The science is solid. After studying both positive and negative reports, over 90 public-health, dental, medical and scientific organizations, locally, provincially, nationally and internationally, recommend fluoridation as a safe and effective method to prevent cavities.

You can learn more about water fluoridation on our website at www.mvhealthunit.ca/fluoride.

There you will find resources, a presentation and facts from credible sources to help you make an informed decision that will affect you, your family members, your friends and your neighbours.

*Original letter online at https://www.parrysound.com/opinion-story/8928364-parry-sound-health-officer-james-chirico-says-fluoride-vote-will-be-important/

•See Letter from Hardy Limeback PhD, DDS here