Local dentist advocates for fluoridated water

Dr. Anne Libbey speaking to Bedford Water Authority Board (WSET).

BEDFORD, Va. (WSET) -- Bedford's Water Authority Board says new research is showing fluoride could serve negatively on your health.

But, a local dentist says the long term effects of not consuming fluoride could also have a negative effect on your oral health.

So now, Dr. Anne Libbey is on a mission. "I was shocked, I really was," said Libbey.

She says she was baffled after receiving a water bill saying the fluoride had been removed from her drinking water.

It was a decision made by the Bedford Regional Water Authority board after they say research and customer complaints flowed in. "Knowing the science behind fluoride and how that affects the rate of decay in our patients, it seems like a no-brainer," said Libbey.

But, not everyone agrees. "They continually come to us asking us to take the fluoride out of the water," explained Megan Aubrey.

Megan Aubrey works for the water authority and says removing fluoride allows people to choose whether or not they want to add it in. "They really don't want another chemical added to their water so they want that to be an option," said Aubrey.

However, Libbey says studies show every dollar spent on community water fluoridation saves $38 in dental visits. "So by taking the fluoride out of the drinking water, they're actually putting the costs back on the citizens of Bedford County," Libbey explained.

She says the rates of tooth decay dropped by 60% when fluoridated water was introduced in 1945.

The water authority says it only costs about $2,600 a year to add fluoride to the water, but they say it's not the cost that's holding them back. "If we hear that the majority of our customers want the fluoride back in the water, that's definitely something our board would think about doing," said Aubrey.

Libbey is hoping they reverse their decision, which she says wouldn't necessarily be good for her dental business. "I'm the one who stands to gain from them stopping adding fluoride to the drinking water," Libbey said. "Yet I'm here tonight because it's just the right thing to do."

The town of Bedford just began receiving their water from Smith Mountain Lake which has been used as a source of non-fluoridated water for years.

Forest will soon jump on the bandwagon but parts of the community will still receive City of Lynchburg water which does contain fluoride.

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