New Brunswick

Dentists call for return of fluoride in Moncton water

Dentists are urging Moncton to resume putting fluoride in its water after its five-year moratorium on the practice expires on Dec. 31.

Tooth decay up 50% with 5-year moratorium on fluoride use coming to an end on Dec. 31

Suzanne Drapeau-McNally estimates tooth decay in children has increased 50 per cent in the five years Moncton has not put fluoride in its water. (Suzanne Lapointe)

Dentists are urging Moncton to resume putting fluoride in its water after its five-year moratorium on the practice expires on Dec. 31.

Suzanne Drapeau-McNally of the New Brunswick Dental Society says "a tremendous change" has occurred in the level of tooth decay in Moncton patients in the last five years.

Drapeau-McNally estimates tooth decay in children has increased approximately 50 per cent.

Drapeau-McNally said she has asked parents of children with cavities to talk to city councillors about reintroducing fluoride into the water.

The numbers are up, and we have had to drill and fill.- Suzanne Drapeau-McNally, N.B. Dental Society

"The numbers are up, and we have had to drill and fill, and parents have got to pay," she said.

Drapeau-McNally said children are not the only ones affected.

"We see a lot of elderly [people] that show more decay also."

Drapeau-McNally said other dentists in the Moncton area feel the same way and she intends to make a presentation in favour of fluoridation to city council in the near future.

No study done

Moncton communications director Isabelle Leblanc said council has not had yet had any official discussions on the subject.

Council voted to remove fluoride from the city's water in December 2011 and the five-year moratorium began in January 2012.

The decision came after a Moncton group called for the removal of fluoride from the water in June of 2011, stating water fluoridation was "dangerous and a violation of rights."

Council had asked the Department of Health to do a study during the moratorium in order to measure the effects, however the provincial department declined.

"The province has not undertaken an independent study of the issue because the existing evidence is clear and unequivocal," said health spokeswoman Véronique Taylor.

"The benefits of fluoridation are well-documented for all individuals in the community regardless of age, education, or socio-economic status."