Quebec's Order of Dentists wants Quebec to take charge of fluoridation of drinking water

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Quebec's Order of Dentists has issued a call for the Quebec government to take charge and make fluoridation of drinking water a reality across the province.

Currently, the province's cities and towns are in charge of water fluoridation, and for one reason or another, very few of them actually put fluoride in the water.

The cities of Dorval and Pointe Claire, which also supplies drinking water to Beaconsfield, Kirkland, Baie d'Urfe and parts of Dollard des Ormeaux, are the only areas on the island of Montreal twhere water is fluoridated.

Just 3 per cent of Quebecers have access to fluoridated water. In Ontario, that figure is 76 per cent, and in the U.S., it's 72 per cent.

Dr. Barry Dolman, the Order's president, says oral health is a public health issue, and should be treated as such by the province's government.

"Quebec has a distinct status, but not one that we're proud of, the Canadian province with the worst oral health status," Dr. Dolman says. "As a dentist, and certainly as the president of the Order of Dentists, we think it's essential that we finally put politics aside, put the viability of getting elected in the next municipal council aside, and do what's right for the population."

Dr. Dolman adds there's a strong correlation between oral health and overall health, and that public health questions shouldn't be placed in the hands of municipal politicians.

"Does it make any sense that public health policy is in the hands of municipal officials," Dr. Dolman says. "The least expertise around to be able to determine what should be good for the health of Quebecers."

The Order also took aim at what it calls the "disinformation" about fluoridation. In a news release, it cited Eau Secours, a non-profit group dedicated to protecting water in the province, for tying the fluoridation of water to lower IQs among children, kidney disease, and other problems.

Dr. Dolman says none of those claims hold water, and he points out that groups such as the World Health Organization, the National Institute of Public Health, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control all support the idea of fluoridation as a way to cut cavities.