Health Unit Wants to Reintroduce Fluoride Into the Drinking Water

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit wants to reintroduce fluoride into the drinking water in Windsor and several other municipalities in Essex County.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed says the Oral Health Report for 2018 indicates oral health has been on a steady decline in the region and, while there's more than one factor, there is a correlation with the removal of fluoride from drinking water. Windsor city council voted to remove fluoride from the water supply in 2013, impacting LaSalle and Tecumseh, which receives its water from the city supply.

Ahmed says there is a correlation between the removal of fluoride and tooth decay, especially in children."We know the data is out there, and it's local data. It can refute some of the concerns that were raised [in 2013], highlighting how it is impacting our community in different age groups. I think this report is pretty powerful."

Ahmed says four out of five residents in Windsor-Essex support community water fluoridation. He hopes city council will come around after seeing all the data the health unit has gathered since 2013. "What we collected through our community needs assessment and also from our surveillance data, which we collect for many other reasons as well. They all point to an overwhelming majority who support fluoridation in the water and statistically it represents the community."

According to the Oral Health Report, Ahmed says 921 people visit emergency rooms each year for dental issues, visits that cost more than $500,000 a year.

Only one in four people have dental coverage in Essex County and the report recommends improving oral health services. "People who don't have dental insurance, they have very limited access to dental care. Unless they access dental care many of these things will continue to increase. We need to make sure we are increasing access to oral care in our community."

Recommendations will now be revisited by Windsor city council and Essex County Council.

CLICK HERE to see the complete report.