Kids are back in school but parents might want to hold off on that sigh of relief. Beyond ensuring that their child finishes their homework and gets a decent lunch, parents need to worry about their child’s dental health, especially in some municipalities. Children are at particular risk of cavities; it is the second most common cause of school absenteeism and five times more common than asthma in Ontario children aged 5-17. Poor oral health can result in pain, and, at worst, tooth loss, facial disfigurement, and impaired oral functioning.
In fact, some Canadian cities and communities have seen a rise in the incidence and severity of cavity rates. A CBC article reports that this is the case for children living in Calgary; and dentists are blaming it on the decision to remove water fluoridation from the city’s water two years ago.
Despite the scientific evidence that proves that fluoride prevents cavities and that over ninety medical, dental, and health organizations at the national and international level recommend water fluoridation, there is still a fear of fluoride and water fluoridation remains a topic of hot debate in some areas. Although water fluoridation is a cost-effective public health measure that ensures safe levels of fluoride exposure, Calgary is just one of a number of Canadian cities that has removed fluoride from its water supplies. In Ontario, Windsor and Waterloo have recently removed water fluoridation, and others are reported to be considering it.
Read the facts on water fluoridation and the negative and inequitable health impacts of its removal in our latest Health Equity Impact Assessment. The cost of removing this proven public health measure will be felt most strongly by those most at risk of poor oral health.