Moncton councillors will hold a special public meeting next month to discuss reintroducing fluoride to the city's drinking water supply.
Only special interest groups will be allowed to make presentations at the committee-of-the-whole meeting, which is set for Jan. 30, at 5 p.m., in council chambers, the city said in a statement on Friday.
But residents are being encouraged to submit their comments online at www.moncton.ca/fluoride by Feb. 6.
Council will debate the topic during a second public meeting, which will be held a few weeks later, once councillors have had an opportunity to review all the information, the statement said. A date has not yet been set.
It was on Dec. 19, 2011, that council voted to stop adding hexafluorosilicic acid to the water supply for five years, "at which time it will be reviewed."
The motion included a pledge to ask the provincial Health Department or the New Brunswick Dental Society or both to collect data during the five-year period "using valid statistical research methods, comparing dental cary rates among individuals of different ages in fluoridated vs. non-fluoridated communities in New Brunswick, in order that the issue may be appropriately assessed."
50% increase in tooth decay in children
Earlier this fall, the New Brunswick Dental Society publicly urged Moncton to resume the practice of putting fluoride in the water.
"A tremendous change" has occurred in the level of tooth decay in Moncton patients in the last five years, vice-president Suzanne Drapeau-McNally had said in September.
She estimated tooth decay in children has increased approximately 50 per cent. Elderly patients are also exhibiting more decay, she said.
The Department of Health did not conduct a study to measure the effects.
"The benefits of fluoridation are well-documented for all individuals in the community regardless of age, education, or socio-economic status," spokeswoman Véronique Taylor had said.
Council voted to remove flouoride following a call to do so by a Moncton group that argued water fluoridation was "dangerous and a violation of rights."