No, it’s not the Loch Ness Monster, but rather a tiny negatively charged atom that is stirring up trouble across Canada.
Fluoride, is the negatively charged form of fluorine, that big F located at the top right-hand corner of the periodic table. It was first discovered to prevent tooth decay back in the 1930s, as stated by the Ontario Dental Association.
Fluoride, when present in the saliva, slows down the rate of tooth enamel demineralization, and it increases the rate of remineralization during the early phases of a cavity. So essentially, fluoride acts as a silent defender of our teeth from cavities and tooth decay.
Signs of Trouble
Despite the benefits of adding fluoride to our water, some cities in Canada are pulling the plug on their water fluoridation programs. In March, the city council of Saint John, New Brunswick voted to stop fluoridating their drinking water, and one weeks ago, on April 23rd, voters in the city of Estevan, Saskatchewan, headed to the polls to determine the fate of fluoride addition in their waters
Is Adding Fluoride to our Water Safe?
The answer is yes.
Why? Because everything in excess could harm you, so it all comes down to how much fluoride is being added to our water. The World Health Organization‘s, WHO, guidelines on water fluoridation states: “There is no evidence to suggest that the guideline value of 1.5 mg/litre set in 1984 and reaffirmed in 1993 needs to be revised.” In support, in the 2010 version of Health Canada’s Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, the maximum acceptable concentration of fluoride in drinking water is 1.5 mg/L. Abiding to these guidelines, many cities in various provinces have chosen to add 0.8 to 1.0 mg/L of fluoride to their drinking water. What about Ottawa? How much fluoride is in our water? With the exception of Carp, Munster, Richmond, Shadow Ridge and Vars, which all run on non-fluorinated wells, the rest of Ottawa receives a fluoride concentration of 0.7 mg/L of water. This is less than half of the maximum acceptable concentration put out by the WHO and Health Canada. In addition to the safe level of fluoridation, the City of Ottawa implements a two-level monitoring system. Fluoride levels are continuously measured at the two water treatment plants, on top of fluoride tests along the water distribution system. These measurements are reviewed by Ottawa Public Health to ensure they fall between 0.5 – 0.8 mg/L.
With extensive safety research around the world and careful municipal monitoring, Dr. Jaleel and her team believes water fluoridation is an important and safe way to prevent tooth decay, especially in children. It’s no wonder the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named fluoridation of drinking water as one of its Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century.
According to the Ontario Dental Association: “Dental decay is the most frequent condition suffered by children other than the common cold, and is one of the leading absences from school.” At the Fairlawn Dental Clinic in Ottawa, Dr. Jaleel and the rest of her team take this issue very seriously. Along with having gentle, caring staff, we provide a child-friendly environment. We offer a guided dental office tour for children who are nervous about going to the dentist.More