Letter: Disappointed In Fluoride Vote

Editor’s note: The following letter from Dr. Laurence Grayhills is addressed to the Wellington Village Council. A copy was sent to the Town-Crier for publication.

Dear Council Members:

As a dental practitioner in the Wellington, community, I was dismayed to see the Wellington Village Council’s decision to remove fluoride from our drinking water. This is a huge step backward for the oral health of our community, as fluoridation of the public water supply is credited as being the second-most-effective public health measure ever undertaken to eliminate a disease process, second only to the Salk polio vaccine.

As spokesperson for the Florida Academy of General Dentistry, we understand that the topic of a fluoridated public water supply is an important and divided issue, however I’d like to provide you with our organization’s official stance on this topic. When used appropriately, fluoride is safe and effective in preventing and controlling dental decay. The cost of fluoridating the Wellington water supply (approximately $34,000 per year) is paled by the amount of savings our population receives in the prevention of dental disease. It has been scientifically demonstrated over the past 65 years that regular use of fluoride throughout life is safe and will help protect teeth against decay.

It seems that many individuals these days mistrust government and the scientific community without a factual argument. There is literally decades of medical research demonstrating the benefits of fluoride on dental health (especially on children), with no deleterious side effects. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association and the Mayo Clinic all endorse fluoridation of the public drinking water.

Opponents argue that fluoride is a toxic substance. While technically correct, when used in the appropriate dosage, it is an effective and safe means of preventing dental caries, reaching all populations, especially the poor and underserved. There are a plethora of items used around the house, which if used incorrectly, would be deemed toxic! When used in the proper concentrations, items like household cleaning products, plastics, cosmetics, fertilizers, fuels, soaps, medicines and spices all enhance our lives, whereas when used inappropriately, pose a health risk. The same applies to fluoride in the drinking water.

Both the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trust have taken a stance on the dental health of children in this country, especially those in rural communities and among the impoverished. Each year in the United States, tens of millions of children, disproportionately those of low income, go without seeing a dentist. While our community is blessed with a higher per capita income than many, there are still many children within our community who do not receive adequate dental care or guidance. Fluoridation of the water supply is one of the only preventative dental measures available to these children. The CDC recommends prescribing fluoride supplements for children 6 to 16 years old who are at a high risk for cavities and whose community water source is less than optimal.

The removal of fluoride from our water supply is a major step backward for the public health of our village. I urge you to side with the scientific community when making decisions which affect the health and safety of our citizens.

Dr. Laurence Grayhills, Wellington



  1. As Dr. Grayhills points out millions of children suffer from untreated tooth decay – mostly low income children. The problem is not fluoride deficiency. It is dentist-deficiency. Most dentists won’t treat Medicaid patients. Only 8% of Florida dentists do.

    There is no evidence that any child with tooth decay is fluoride deficient. In fact, federal statistics show Americans are fluoride overdosed which shows up as dental fluorosis – white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted teeth.

    Dr. Grayhills needs to gather his colleagues and force them to accept more Medicaid patients. If they won’t, then they have to stop thwarting viable alternatives.

    Dental Therapists need just a few years training to do simple dental work. The first ones started in Alaska where residents would pull their own teeth because no dentist would travel or live there. The American Dental Association spent $1 million on a lawsuit unsuccessfully trying to stop them – preferring to protect their lucrative monopoly than the health of dentally neglected people.

    Minnesota recently legalized dental therapists and other states are trying to. The problem is that organized dentistry fights them politically, with their pockets full of corporate cash.

    Dental therapists will go into mouths that dentists refuse to go into and will charge less. They have worked for decades in first world countries very successfully.

    Dentists who try to force fluoride into us without any scientific evidence showing we are “fluoride-deficient” need to be totally ignored.

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