Reader letters, April 23

Apr 22, 2014

Thanks for support

To the editor:

We would like to thank our friends, co-workers, community, Waynesville Police Department, local law enforcement and individuals, some of whom we’ve never  met, for the outpouring of love and support that all of you have demonstrated since the loss of our dear Nichole.

You have shown tremendous love and respect for Nichole by the many acts of kindness you have poured out on us.

The generosity displayed by sending meals, cards, donations, kind words and prayers has brought comfort to us during these sad and unexpected times.  You have brightened our dark days.  Your show  of  support  and love during the last two months has been a God send.

Please continue to pray for us as we struggle to face our loss.  We know that our lives are in God’s hands and although we don’t understand why – we’re trusting His wisdom and not ours.  Nichole left us a wonderful gift, Arden Grace, and she continues to bless us.

Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts.  We are so proud to be a part of such a loving community.  God is good.

Bryan and Arden Reeves

Mathis Family

Presnell Family


A welcome addition

To the editor:

In a recent column, Jenn Mroz introduced Dr. Ben Debelak to Haywood County.  Dr. Debelak is with the practice of Western Carolina Orthopaedic Specialists and the MedWest Haywood Sports Medicine.

As I read his training and experience no mention is made of experience with TBI and its minimal signs in sports.  Having worked with equestrian sports and protective headgear, I am pleased that all sports and especially the professional sports are doing excellent work in documenting brain injury.

Brain injury is of vital of importance to the young athlete and his/her attending staff. I hope Dr. Debelak has been exposed to this important part of youth athletic care.

Doris Hammett, MD



The case for fluoride

To the editor,

On behalf of the Haywood County Board of Health and Human Services, the Haywood County Health Director, and the Public Health Dentist in the Division of Public Health Services Dental Program, we are writing to provide scientific information regarding the public health benefits of fluoridated water systems.

There are three points to consider regarding fluoridation; first, fluoridation is a scientifically established public health measure to prevent dental decay in children and adults; second, fluoridation is a cost-effective and cost-saving means to reach many people efficiently; and third, community water fluoridation has a long standing record of safety.

For more than 60 years, there has been demonstrated evidence of community water fluoridation being the single most effective public health measure in preventing tooth decay. One of many credible reports to read was published in the August 17, 2001 Center for Disease Control (CDC) MMWR. This report concluded, “When used appropriately, fluoride is a safe and effective agent that can be used to prevent and control dental caries. Fluoride has contributed profoundly to the improved dental health of persons in the United States and other countries.

Fluoride is needed regularly throughout life to protect teeth from tooth decay. To ensure additional gains in oral health, water fluoridation should be extended to additional communities, and fluoride toothpaste should be used widely.” The article in the medical journal The Lancet, which was cited in April 14, 2014 article in The Mountaineer regarding water fluoridation, mentions research that needs to be fully and scientifically verified by more study. One source citied in the Lancet article, regarding the effects of fluoride on children in China, stated that more study is needed.

The weight of scientific evidence on safety and use of fluoride in preventing tooth decay is heavily on the side of water fluoridation. Until new and compelling evidence is proven, we need to stand with the facts as we know them. We should not change a practice that has a proven success record based on scare tactics. The ADA statement on Water fluoridation says, “…every dollar spent on water fluoridation saves the consumer $38 in dental treatment.” This is based on facts from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association. It is also important to note that they stated, “even today, studies show water fluoridation continues to be effective in reducing tooth decay by 20-40%” The enclosed statement from The America Dental Association (ADA) provides an excellent review of the history, science, and cost benefits of community water fluoridation.

American Dental Association (ADA) Statement Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of Community Water Fluoridation

“Sixty years ago, Grand Rapids, Michigan became the world’s first city to adjust the level of fluoride in its waters supply. Since that time, fluoridation has dramatically improved the oral health of tens of millions of Americans. Community water fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proclaimed community water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th Century. Fluoridation of community water supplies is simply the precise adjustment of the existing naturally occurring fluoride levels in drinking water to an optimal fluoride level recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service (0.7-1.2 parts per million) for the prevention of dental decay. Based on data from 2002, approximately 170 million people (or over two thirds of the population) in the United States are served by public water systems that are fluoridated. Studies conducted throughout the past 60 years have consistently indicated that fluoridation of community water supplies is safe and effective in preventing dental decay in both children and adults. It is the most efficient way to prevent one of the most common childhood diseases-tooth decay (5 times as common as asthma and 7 times as common as hay fever in 5-to 17-year olds.) Early studies, such as those conducted in Grand Rapids, showed that water fluoridation reduced the amount of cavities children get in their baby teeth by as much as 60 percent and reduced tooth decay in permanent adult teeth nearly 35 percent. Today, studies prove water fluoridation continues to be effective in reducing tooth decay by 20-40 percent, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste. The average cost for a community to fluoridate its water is estimated to range from approximately $.50 a year per person in large communities to approximately $3 a year per person in small communities. For most cities, even $1 invested in water fluoridation saves$38 in dental treatment costs. The American Dental Association continues to endorse fluoridation of community water supplies as safe and effective for prevention tooth decay. This support has been the Association’s position since policy was first adopted in 1950. The ADA’s policies regarding community water fluoridation are based on the overwhelming weight of peer-reviewed, credible scientific evidence. The ADA, along with state and local dental societies, continues to work with federal, state, local agencies and community coalitions to increase the number of communities benefiting from water fluoridation. “

We encourage the public to speak with a broad range of professionals responsible for dental care and public health in the community for a comprehensive perspective before passing judgment on a long standing, well supported, and scientifically based public health practice.

Paul Turner, Chairman

Haywood County Board of Health and Human Services

Carmine F. Rocco, Health Director

Dr. Ronald C. Cox

Public Health Dentist, Division of Public Health Services, Dental Program

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