Report suggests Calgary kids get more cavities due to lack of fluoridation
Fluoride has been a hot topic in previous municipal election years, but Regina’s mayor says that right now, he doesn’t see people calling for the water supply to be fluoridated.
“It hasn’t been a public conversation for a number of years,” Michael Fougere said Thursday.
“There’s been no groundswell of a question to be asked: ‘Why don’t we do this?'”
Fougere was reacting to a newly published study comparing dental cavities in Grade 2 students in Edmonton (which fluoridates its water) and Calgary (which stopped fluoridating its water in 2011).
The study, published in the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, says between 2004-05 and 2013-14, the rate of cavities in baby teeth increased in both cities, but Edmonton’s increase was about half that of Calgary’s.
The conclusion was that Calgary’s decision to stop fluoridating was a key factor in the difference.
In Saskatchewan, some communities fluoridate their water — Saskatoon among them — while others don’t, including Regina.
Fougere said he couldn’t say if the Alberta fluoride report has any implications for Regina.
“I can’t speak to the level of education of either the administration or of council or the general public on what it means,” he said. “There have been lots of reports that say it’s good for you and it’s also dangerous.”
It’s historically been a controversial topic in Regina, which has never fluoridated its water, but has held plebiscites on the issue in 1954, 1958 and 1985.
Each time voters rejected fluoride.
In 1985, when the plebiscite was held as part of the civic election, there was a vigorous debate, with both pro-fluoride and anti-fluoride candidates.
Proponents have argued that putting fluoride in the water supply means everybody will get some protection from tooth decay. But opponents say it’s a toxic substance and is linked to various health issues.
Fougere, who is running for re-election, was non-committal on the topic Thursday.
“There’s lots of elements around,” Fougere said. “So, to make an informed decision we have to read the report and understand it, and go from there.”
The civic election is Oct. 26.