HEALTH vs. CURE

By IRVING STIER, D.D.S.
New York City
Anyone discussing controversial topics relating to health and disease should be willing to accept some degree of censure, if not actual rebuke from his fellow dentists, because in the final analysis every knock or criticism is presumably in the interest of objective truth and accuracy. Of course, there is always the consoling probability that unorthodox as the author’s views may appear to some, there are many other practitioners who, actuated probably by the same interests plus a spirit of fair play, would send him the nicest letters of commendation and encouragement. Such, in fact, has been the writer’s experience as a result of his contribution “Seek Not Cure But Health” in the July issue of this Journal.
To all who wrote me commenting on the things I discussed, I want to here with make grateful acknowledgement of their letters. It would, of course, be impossible to answer everyone individually. Nor would it be possible to send reprints of the article except to the limited few who sent stamped envelopes. But the flood of inquiries raised by the article in question reveals a much greater interest in the subject matter than I had originally supposed. As a result, I am facing the task of clarifying point by point, many statements that apparently were “general or obscure” in my original discussion. The basic premise of Health versus Cure, for instance, is something I thought my professional readers at least would just take for granted. Objection to this basic concept, however, was voiced so frequently in the letters I received that I feel compelled to elaborate on the subject.
Questions such as “How can you deprecate the value and usefulness of drugs of proven merit in dentistry?”; “In what way, specifically, do you dietary views differ from those accepted generally by the profession?”; “What do you consider a balanced diet for a dental patient?”; are sure to stump one, for a moment anyway. Above all, there is the persistent question relating to the how, when and where of the dentist’s role in the restoration of health, not merely dental, but general, as the author evidently seemed to imply. These questions must be answered and answered candidly they will be.
Naturally, I don’t know whether I can answer them in a manner satisfactory to all concerned. I’ll attempt nevertheless, to clarify the points of controversy or apparent controversy, to the best of my ability. Of course, this will entail a more fundamental approach to and hence a more comprehensive view of the problem and philosophy of health in contradistinction to the idea of cure, whether attempted by physician, dentist or any other practitioner of the healing art. It will necessarily involve a rather lengthy discussion of the subject of health and disease and related topics incident to the subject. However, with the approval of the editor of Nutrition and Dental Health the article or series of articles should appear in the pages of this Journal at an early date.
___________________
EDITOR’S NOTE
A series of articles by Dr. Stier will start in an early fall issue of Nutrition and Dental Health.