Apr 11, 2011

ODA Supports Toronto's Decision to Keep Fluoridating Water

April 4 vote followed recommendation of medical officer of health, dental experts

The Ontario Dental Assn. (ODA) praised the Toronto Board of Health for its vote on April 4 to keep fluoride in the city's drinking water and for following the recommendation of its medical officer of health, Dr. David McKeown.

"Water fluoridation is a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay—it's just that simple," said Toronto-based ODA President Dr. Lynn Tomkins. "I'm glad that the board based their decision on sound science and research that support water fluoridation—this is great news for the health of all Torontonians."

Tomkins was one of many medical and dental experts who addressed the board at the April 4 meeting. Presentations also were given by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry Department of Paediatric Dentistry, the Ontario Dental Hygienists' Assn. and the Ontario Assn. of Public Health Dentistry.

The group presented numerous scientific studies and research supporting the use of fluoride in drinking water to prevent tooth decay. It urged the board to continue the 48-year policy of water fluoridation, saying it saves millions of dollars in public health costs and protects those who might not have access to dental health care, such as the elderly and low-income families.

Dr. Arlene King, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, spoke during the meeting and also issued a news release in support of the public health practice. According to the statement, King is "very concerned about the loss of fluoridated drinking water in certain communities in spite of consistent evidence that water fluoridation is safe and effective."

"Just look at what happened in Dorval, Quebec, when they removed fluoride from the water in 2003: The percentage of kindergarten children at high risk of developing dental caries doubled," Tomkins said. "I'm relieved that we helped to ensure the best possible oral health for the children of Toronto."