September 12, 2016 6:00 am
Updated: September 12, 2016 5:23 pm

Calgary fluoride debate: councillors push for ‘objective assessment’ from health institute

WATCH: The debate over fluoride in Calgary's drinking water is headed back before city council this week. Doug Vaessen has details.

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Debate over whether or not fluoride should be added to Calgary’s drinking water is set to return to city council.

Three councillors are joining together on a notice of motion asking for the University of Calgary’s O’Brien Institute for Public Health (OIPH) to “conduct an objective assessment” on fluoridation of tap water.

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Fluoride was removed from the city’s public water supply in 2011, but new research released in February prompted some to question the decision. The study, led by Dr. Lindsay McLaren, suggested removing the mineral that strengthens teeth left kids with more cavities than before.

READ MORE: Here’s how removing fluoride from Calgary’s water affected kids’ teeth

“Fluoride is known to have benefits for preventing tooth decay – it inhibits demineralization of tooth enamel, enhances remineralization of tooth enamel, and having it in saliva neutralizes plaque bacteria in the mouth,” McLaren told Global News in February. “By drinking water with fluoride, we can prevent tooth decay.”

Following the release of the report, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi told reporters he was in favour of putting fluoride back in the city’s water supply.

READ MORE: Alberta children suffering because dental care is out of reach

The notice of motion, which is on the agenda for Monday, is being put forward by Peter Demong, Diane Colley-Urquhart, and Richard Pootmans. In it, councillors say a dental health bus from The Alex community health centre has been serving double the number of children since it launched in 2013, jumping from 798 patients to 1607.

The notice of motion asks for a report on the OIPH’s findings to be presented to councillors by December.

READ MORE: Tooth decay ‘epidemic’ in Canada could be linked to too much fruit juice, study suggests

With files from Doug Vaessen and Carmen Chai

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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