Fluoride will be reintroduced into Red Deer tap water in early 2009 if a deal with a supplier is ironed out.
Fluoride hasn’t been in the treated water supply for a year, since a shortage of the cavity-fighting chemical began.
But the shortage appears to have eased.
“It looks like one of our suppliers has a guaranteed source,” said Randy Reaman, the city’s water superintendent, on Thursday. “We have to have further discussions with them to negotiate a contract.
“Hopefully in the new year, we’ll be able to fluoridate again.”
Reaman said he’ll be meeting with David Thompson Health Region officials in early November.
The key is to ensure there is enough fluoride on a more permanent basis, Reaman said.
“We were starting and stopping and starting and stopping (earlier last year),” he said. “We finally said, ‘this is crazy.’ ”
Fluoridation stopped in Red Deer last October. The measure that also affected Blackfalds, Lacombe and Ponoka, which all tap into Red Deer’s water supply.
The fluoride is manufactured in the United States, where a number of facilities were damaged due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
As well, one American supplier shut down last fall and others are just not making enough to meet the demand.
Dr. Bob Cram, a Red Deer orthodontist and president of the Canadian Association of Orthodontists, said dentists in Red Deer have noticed an increase in cavities since fluoridation stopped.
Worldwide, some communities have stopped fluoridation, citing health concerns around the chemical itself.