Calgary’s Health Officer Urges Council to Rethink Fluoride Removal after Study Showing Alarming Spike in Cavities for Kids

Calgary’s medical health officer says council should reconsider its “fundamentally” ideological decision to remove fluoride from the city’s drinking water supply in 2011, after a study showed childhood tooth decay rates here are increasing faster than in Edmonton.

“I feared that this could happen, but I couldn’t say confidently back in 2011 that it was going to happen. But it’s clear,” said Dr. Richard Musto, Alberta Health Service’s lead medical officer for the Calgary Zone.

“I’m sorry that so many children had to suffer from dental caries during this time period,” said Musto.

The University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services conducted a joint study in which researchers looked for signs of decay during mouth exams of roughly 5,000 Grade 2 students in the two cities.

The findings show both cities saw increased rates of tooth deterioration compared to an early study in 2004-05, but the number increased at a higher rate in Calgary, with an average of 3.8 surfaces to Edmonton’s 2.1.

Researchers suggested the disparity between the two cities was likely due to Calgary council’s 10-3 decision to scrap community water treatment five years ago – an effort spearheaded by Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell – despite there being no expert panel consultation or public vote on the issue.

Farrell did not respond to the Herald’s interview requests on Wednesday. – Trevor Howell, Postmedia News