CDA Essentials 2017 • Volume 3 • Issue 4

18 | Volume 3 Issue 4 N ews and E vents Your study notes: “Collectively, the literature (including our study) indicates that the impact of fluoridation cessation on dental caries is not uniformly positive or negative, but varies by time and place, and sorting out the reasons for different patterns is important.” How do you think your study will inform decision making by Canadian municipalities that are reconsidering their fluoridation policy? I think it’s very important to pursue locally relevant research. If you look at the published research on fluoridation cessation, it’s not all that locally relevant. Some of it is quite a bit older, going back to the 1950s. There’s only one Canadian study, from 1992. Also, some have very limited local relevance and were conducted under social circumstances that are very different from Canadian urban environments today. Do I think that every city needs to do a study? Not necessarily. Canadian municipalities that are revisiting their fluoridation policy can read our studies and judge for themselves the extent to which our findings are relevant to their own setting. We’re actually in the process of trying to publish our methods protocol so that if other cities want to do a study, they don’t have to start from scratch. That will also allow our methods to be debated and improved, which will benefit the knowledge base. Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi said that based on the available evidence, he would vote in favour of putting fluoride back in the water. What role do you think your study should play in future decisions on fluoridation of Calgary’s drinking water? Back in early 2011, when those deliberations were happening in Calgary, this issue actually came up, that there was a very limited amount of locally relevant evidence on what would happen if fluoridation was stopped. So our study aimed to tackle the piece of the story that several of the councillors felt was missing at the time. I think our study should be part of the discussion; but it’s certainly not the only part. If a patient wants to discuss your study with their dentist, what are some of the key points you think dentists should convey? I think the key points are that we conducted a careful study where we compared 2 similar cities, one where fluoridation had ceased and one where it continued. And we showed a significantly greater increase in dental caries in children in the cessation city. We considered a number of other factors and we addressed some of the limitations of previous studies in the field. Will you do a follow-up study? I hope so! We would love to do another study, we just need to secure some funding. With more data points, we can start to look more robustly at changes over time. a The objective of our study was not to persuade anyone to support fluoridation, but rather to take advantage of the decision to discontinue fluoridation as an opportunity to conduct a research study and contribute to the literature. The Fluoride File: CDA Resources Dr. Lindsay McLaren first talked to CDA about her research project in 2014. Read about her expectations on the study at that time: Read CDA’s Position Statement on the Use of Fluorides in Caries Prevention : Do your patients have questions about fluoride? Consult the CDA Fluoride FAQ : Do you treat pediatric patients? Direct parents to the Fluorideand Your Child section of CDA’s website: