Letter: Nielsen On Fluoridation

Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to a recent letter from dentist Dr. Laurence Grayhills.

Those who would decide independently about the prudence and safety of medicating entire populations, irrespective of efficacy, would do well to weigh the words of Dr. Grayhills and remember “the devil is in the details.”

Dr. Grayhills asserts that “when used appropriately,” fluoride is effective and safe in preventing and controlling dental decay. What should have been added is that it works by hardening the enamel in young people, but no studies have shown reductions in dental decay in the elderly, who suffer not from their enamel not being hard enough, but receding gum lines and gum disease. I would note that Dr. Grayhills admits that fluoride is a toxic substance, but safe when used in “appropriate” doses.

Pray tell me, with fluoride in toothpaste, in mouthwash and receiving fluoride treatments from their dentist, who is monitoring this for the “appropriate” dose?

The suggestion that fluoride is safe and unmonitored at any dose, with virtually no studies supporting the efficacy and safety in the elderly, leads broad interpretation of others that since high blood pressure is so common after age 50, we should search for something we could add to the water supply that would be beneficial to the elderly.

If there exists fluoride toothpaste, mouthwash and treatment to harden the enamel of teeth in the young, and that such science works, leading me to believe that the extra measure of putting it in the water supply is redundant, why would there be a need to medicate everyone, whether they benefit or not ?

Richard Nielsen, Royal Palm Beach