Dentists want to keep it in, but one group wants communities across Canada to keep fluoride out of the water we drink.
A new group, Fluoride Free Canada, is expected to announce a new initiative to make sure fluoride is not added to drinking water in any Canadian community.
Details of the announcement have been embargoed until late Wednesday morning, but it comes as the debate continues to take place in some Windsor-Essex communities on whether the anion should be added to the water.
The City of Windsor, for example, removed fluoride from the city's drinking water in 2013, but City Council voted in 2019 to bring it back. A similar measure was passed by the Town of Tecumseh.
According to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, the plan to reintroduce fluoride to drinking water was key to improving dental health in the region. While acknowledging that too much fluoride can be harmful, the health unit said that it supported the recommendations made by Health Canada, with an optimum concentration of fluoride in water at 0.7 milligrams per litre, half the concentration permissible by federal health officials.
However, Fluoride Free Canada said fluoride has almost no health advantages whatsoever.
"If water fluoridation has a benefit, it is a minimal one," read a statement on the FAQ webpage on the group's website. "Recent large-scale studies from the United States have found little practical or statistical difference in tooth decay rates among children living in fluoridated versus non-fluoridated areas. In addition, data compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that tooth decay rates have declined just as rapidly in non-fluoridated western countries as they have in fluoridated western countries."
The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) has acknowledged that the debate over water fluoridation is a contentious one. According to the abstract of a 2009 analysis published by the CDA, less than half of Canada's population had access to fluoridated water, as many communities have chosen not to add it.
The fluoridation of Windsor's water was expected to be completed within 18 months of the 2019 decision by City Council but was delayed so further testing could be done. The current target date is November 2021.