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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 100, Issue 2, pp 96–100 | Cite as

Public Opinions on Community Water Fluoridation

  • Carlos R. QuiñonezEmail author
  • David Locker
Quantitative Research
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Background

Community water fluoridation (CWF) is currently experiencing social resistance in Canada. Petitions have been publicly registered, municipal plebiscites have occurred, and media attention is growing. There is now concern among policy leaders whether the practice is acceptable to Canadians. As a result, this study asks: What are public opinions on CWF?

Methods

Data were collected in April 2008 from 1,005 Canadian adults by means of a national telephone interview survey using random digit dialling and computer-assisted telephone interview technology. Descriptive and bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were undertaken.

Results

Approximately 1 in 2 Canadian adults surveyed knew about CWF. Of these, 80% understood its intended use, approximately 60% believed that it was both safe and effective, and 62% supported the idea of having fluoride added to their local drinking water. Those with greater incomes [OR=1.4; p<0.001] and education [OR=1.6; p<0.001] were more likely to know about CWF. Those with greater incomes [OR=1.3; p<0.03] and those who visited the dentist more frequently [OR=1.8; p<0.002] were more likely to support CWF, and those with children [OR=0.5; p<0.02], those who accessed dental care using public insurance [OR=0.2; p<0.03], and those who avoided fluoride [OR=0.04; p<0.001] were less likely to support CWF.

Conclusion

It appears that Canadians still support CWF. In moving forward, policy leaders will need to attend to two distinct challenges: the influence of anti-fluoride sentiment, and the potential risks created by avoiding fluoride.

Key words

Fluoridation public opinion policy 

Résumé

Contexte

La fluoration de l’eau dans les collectivités (FEC) fait actuellement face à une résistance sociale au Canada. Des pétitions ont été publiquement enregistrées, des plébiscites municipaux ont eu lieu et l’attention médiatique concernant le sujet augmente. Les dirigeants se préoccupent maintenant de la question pour savoir si la pratique est acceptable pour les Canadiens. Par conséquent, cette étude se penche sur la question suivante: quelles sont les diverses opinions publiques à propos de la FEC?

Méthode

Des données ont été recueillies en avril 2008 auprès de 1 005 adultes canadiens au moyen d’une étude nationale par entrevue téléphonique utilisant la composition de numéros au hasard et une technologie d’entrevues téléphoniques informatisées. Des analyses de régression logistiques descriptives, bidimensionnelles et multidimensionnelles ont été entreprises.

Résultats

Environ 1 adulte canadien interrogé sur 2 avait entendu parler de la FEC. De ce nombre, 80 % comprenaient son utilisation prévue, environ 60 % croyaient qu’elle était à la foi sécuritaire et efficace, et 62 % appuyaient l’idée d’ajouter du fluorure à l’eau potable de leur localité. Les personnes dont le revenu est plus élevé [r.c.=1,4; p<0,001] et dont le niveau de scolarité est plus élevé [r.c.=1,6; p<0,001] étaient plus susceptibles d’avoir entendu parler de la FEC. Les personnes dont le revenu est plus élevé [r.c.=1,3; p<0,03] et celles qui ont consulté un dentiste plus fréquemment [r.c.=1,8; p<0,002] étaient plus susceptibles d’appuyer la FEC, celles ayant des enfants [r.c.=0,5; p<0,02], celles qui ont consulté le dentiste et bénéficiaient de l’assurance publique [r.c.=0,2; p<0,03], et celles qui évitaient le fluorure [r.c.=0,04; p<0,001] étaient moins susceptibles d’appuyer la FEC.

Conclusion

Il semble que les Canadiens appuient encore la FEC. En allant de l’avant, les dirigeants politiques devront relever deux défis distincts: l’influence de l’opinion allant contre la fluoration et les risques éventuels de ne pas ajouter de fluorure à l’eau.

Mots clés

fluoration opinion publique politique 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Community Dental Health Services Research Unit, Faculty of DentistryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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