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Virginia town council affirms community water

Months went by in 2008 and early 2009 as the town council in Timberville, Virginia debated the issue of water fluoridation. Experts from all sides of the debate expressed their views at a public forum and made presentations at the council's meetings. The undecided council wanted to place the issue before the voters but that required approval of the state legislature, which did not happen, so the decision remained in the hands of the council. Timberville Mayor Don Delaughter cast a tie breaking vote to continue fluoridating the community's water, largely on the support of Dr. Alan Robbins, a local dentist. "It's important for dentists to become familiar with the arguments that the other side is using so they will be prepared to counter them."

Virginia Dental Association President Dr. Ralph L. Howell Jr. was pleased to see the proposal to remove fluoride from the town's water system fail. "Fluoride addition to the public water supply has been one of the greatest public health initiatives of the last 50 years," said Howell. "We already face an access to care problem in Virginia and the increase in dental disease created by removing fluoride would have caused the problem to escalate. We are grateful to have educated legislators that listen to fact and science when making decisions that affect the health of the citizens of the Commonwealth."

“The fact is that I started out as somewhat skeptical and cautious about fluoridation. But then I became a firm believer as proof was assembled by scientists that fluoridation of a water supply will reduce the production of tooth cavities (our most prevalent disease) by 60%, and, just as important, that no disease or defect is caused by this procedure. What particularly allayed my early doubts about adding a chemical to public water supplies was learning that fluoride has always occurred naturally in water supplies.” Dr. Benjamin Spock
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