If all goes to plan, fluoridated water will be flowing from local taps this fall for the first time in years, according to the top public health doctor for Windsor and Essex County.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health, said that the planned reintroduction of fluoride into the water supply was delayed due to studies done by Enwin Utilities Ltd. water division to ensure that it wouldn't impact ongoing lead control efforts.
"Because of some of the delays, with respect to closure, travel restrictions and what not, they're hoping that they will finish all of these studies and November 2021, they should be able to add fluoride back into the water," he said at the health unit's daily briefing on Friday.
Ahmed, who called the step an important public health intervention, said that the community's oral health has suffered in the period without fluoride in the drinking water supply.
"The oral health of our children is declining everywhere in Windsor-Essex. So, with the reintroduction of fluoride, we know that it would help improve the oral health of our community," he said.
The reintroduction of fluoride will cap off a lengthy saga over the mineral, which is added to water to prevent tooth decay but can increase the risk of an enamel discolouration known as fluorosis if children consume more than recommended.
Fluoride had been added to the water in Windsor for decades but in 2013, city councillors voted to discontinue its use.
Council reversed that decision in 2018. In order to proceed, approval was also needed from Tecumseh or LaSalle council, which share Windsor's water supply. The green light came in April 2019 from Tecumseh.