The medical community is unanimous in telling North Bay council it’s a big mistake to stop adding fluoride to water. Doctor Jim Chirico, the medical officer of health, was one of six doctors and dentists to address council on this Monday night.
Chirico says the science is solid that fluoridating our drinking water reduces tooth decay. It’s estimated that the city would save $50-thousand a year if it stops adding fluoride to water.
Chirico says while the savings look tempting, the reality is the cost will be far greater. He says as people develop tooth decay, the municipality will have to fork over more money in social assistance.
So all that’s happening is a shift in dollars. But Chirico warns the cost to not fluoridating the water is greater than doing it.
He says figures from the Centres for Disease Control show that every dollar spent on preventive measures means $38 don’t have to be spent on treatment. Applying that to North Bay, Chirico says spending $50-thousnad on fluoride will save $1.9 million in treatment that won’t have to take place.
Chirico adds if the city eliminates fluoride in its water, poor people in the community will feel the greatest impact. He says that’s because as they start to experience dental problems, they won’t have the money to get the treatment they’ll need.
Councillor Tanya Vrebosch says council won’t make a decision on whether to end fluoride treatment of its drinking water until next year and will hold public consultations before any decision is made.