It has been 30 months since Calgary’s residents voted for the reintroduction of fluoride to the city’s water supply. However, since then the project to reintroduce fluoride has been beset with setbacks. Unfortunately, the Calgary City Council has recently announced another delay. This has been criticized by many, with the latest predicted date of completion now being early 2025.

Calgary Students Urge “Yes” Vote to Water Fluoridation Debate - Taradale Dental

In October 2021, Calgary’s residents voted on a plebiscite on the reintroduction of fluoride to the city’s public water supply. In this vote, Calgarians approved its reintroduction.

However, 30 months later, water fluoridation has not yet happened. Now, in disappointing news, a further delay has been announced [1].

This delay is having a knock-on effect on the oral health of Calgary residents, with water fluoridation known to positively impact oral health.

What is Water Fluoridation?

Water fluoridation refers to when small quantities of the natural mineral fluoride is added to the public water supply. This is a widespread practice which is used in many countries around the world.

The main reason for water fluoridation is its impact on oral health. Research has shown that water fluoridation helps to reduce tooth decay – especially for children [2].

However, water fluoridation has proven to be a controversial topic. Some countries, whether it is for health or ethical reasons – have banned water fluoridation.

The 2021 Plebiscite

Water fluoridation has been a very contentious topic in Calgary, with numerous votes held on the subject in recent decades. The public water supply has not been fluoridated since 2011 [1].

Back in October 2021, a plebiscite was held in Calgary, with residents asked to vote on if they supported fluoride being added to the public water supply.

The “yes” vote won, with 62% of voters supporting fluoride being reintroduced to the public water supply [3]. This decision was then ratified by the Calgary City Council.

Work on the implementation of water fluoridation was expected to begin soon afterwards. However, the project has been beset with setbacks.

Cost has been a big problem in the last year, with the city council finding that the upfront cost of water fluoridation had risen significantly compared to what they had originally budgeted [1]. Yet now, further problems have arisen.

The latest delay

Construction on the project started in September 2023. The work had originally been expected to be completed by September 2024.

However, Calgary City Council have announced that infrastructure upgrades will be pushing this date back further [1].

The removal of fluoride from the public water supply in 2011 resulted in old infrastructure being decommissioned and then removed [1].

Now it is needed again, but significant work is needed in order to upgrade this older infrastructure. In particular, upgrades are needed at Glenmore and Bearspaw Water Treatment Plants [1].

The new expectation is that the work will be completed in the first few months of 2025. The rationale behind this new prediction has been explained in the statement provided by Calgary City Council [1].

The statement said that the original date “was set with an understanding that timelines may change due to ongoing uncertainty with the global supply chain” [1].

Continuing, the statement said that “as a result of this global uncertainty and industry resource competition, we now anticipate the system will be in service by Q1 2025” [1].

This would suggest that the work will be completed by March 2025 at the latest. Hopefully, this will be accurate, which would mean Calgarians will not need to wait much longer.

This new predicted date “also reflects an integrated schedule built in collaboration with our general contractor and city administration”, the council said [1].

Criticism of the delay

This delay has led to criticism by many. Dr. James Dickinson was among those championing the campaign for fluoride’s reintroduction to the public water supply in 2021 [1].

Dickinson, who is a professor at the University of Calgary, has said that “it’s going be another year and that’s just appalling” [1]. Furthermore, he says that “there’s a whole group of children growing up without fluoride and it’s going to show in their teeth” [1].

Dickinson has pointed out that water fluoridation can help a huge amount of people, especially as “we have a whole series of people who can’t afford toothbrushes” [1].

Therefore, as Dickinson says, “a very tiny amount of fluoride and it makes all the difference to a lot of people” [1].

Clearly, with many children struggling with oral health, the addition of fluoride to the public water supply can help significantly. Dickinson’s criticisms have been echoed by many of his peers.


Having to wait longer than expected for water fluoridation is disappointing. It has already been a long time since the initial vote.

Considering the potential benefits of water fluoridation, this delay could impact the oral health of many people – especially children.

The good news is at least that progress – however gradual – is being made. Eventually, the water fluoridation process will be completed!

Thinking points…

[1] Some people are in areas that have fluoridated water, while others are not. Regardless of if your area has fluoridated water, remember to look after your oral health! A key way of doing this is to attend regular dental appointments. This provides a dentist with a chance to examine your oral health, and provide advice and treatment if needed. We recommend booking an appointment now!

[2] How do you feel about water fluoridation? You could have a discussion with those around you – and show them the benefits of its practice, especially with our oral health! You could share this article with others and start a conversation. Why not share this article now?

What we offer at Taradale Dental

Taradale Dental is a dental clinic based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. At our Calgary dental clinic, we provide a range of services for our patients.

We advise our patients to attend our Calgary dental clinic at least twice per year for a regular dental check-up. At these check-ups, we provide a comprehensive review of a patient’s oral health. If any problems are detected, we have many treatments available. For example, these include cavity fillings and root canals. To strengthen your oral health, we recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing regularly.

Here at Taradale Dental, we also have some cosmetic treatments available! These include dental implants, teeth whitening and Invisalign™! Our patients find that these treatments have a positive impact on their appearance, confidence and self-esteem.

Moreover, the fees of our treatments at our Calgary dental clinic Taradale Dental are set in line with the Alberta Dental Fee Guide. This ensures transparent and fair pricing, with no hidden costs.

We hope to see you soon at our Taradale Dental clinic in Calgary! You can find out more about us by visiting our website!


[1] Kury de Castillo, C. (2024). Calgary delays return of fluoride to water supply; new study supports reintroduction. Available: Last accessed: 27th April 2024.

[2] Harding, M. A., & O’Mullane, D. M. (2013). Water fluoridation and oral health. Acta Medica Academica. 42 (2): p131-139. DOI:

[3] Elections Calgary. (2021). 2021 Results – Calgary General Election. Available: Last accessed: 27th April 2024.