In response to a new provincial guideline, as of March 15, 2011, the optimal level of fluoride in Winnipeg’s drinking water has been lowered from 0.85 parts per million to 0.7 parts per million.
Consistent with a review from Health Canada, Manitoba Health has just recommended a new optimal level of fluoride of 0.7 parts per million in public drinking water supplies to prevent dental caries.
Manitoba Health and Manitoba Water Stewardship regulate the quality of Winnipeg’s drinking water using the Manitoba Drinking Water Safety Act and Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. Fluoride has been added to Winnipeg’s water since 1956.
The use of fluoride for the prevention of dental cavities is endorsed by over 90 national and international professional health organizations including Health Canada, the Canadian Public Health Association, the Canadian Dental Association, the Canadian Medical Association, and the World Health Organization.
Fluoride protects tooth enamel against the acids that cause tooth decay. Many studies have shown that fluoridated drinking water significantly reduces the number of cavities in children’s teeth. Fluoride is used in many communities across Canada, spanning most provinces and territories. About 45 per cent of Canadians receive fluoridated water.
Fluoridation is a process of adjusting the concentration of fluoride to a level that provides the optimal dental benefits. This level is called the optimal concentration and is set well below the maximum acceptable concentration. Health Canada has established the guideline for fluoride in drinking water as a maximum acceptable concentration of 1.5 parts per million. Water containing fluoride at, or below, this maximum acceptable concentration does not pose a risk to human health.
For more information on Winnipeg’s drinking water quality, residents can phone 311 or visit winnipeg.ca/waterandwaste/water/quality.stm.