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N-Sta-Smile ... Coming to a cafeteria near you

Thursday, April 16, 2009

(Photo)
Kerry Evans visited the Cherokee Elementary students April 8 during their lunch hour to present them with tooth brushes. From now on every Highland student will have access to a toothbrush after lunch, helping them achieve the recommended goal of brushing three times a day. Evans started a company called N-Sta-Smile that produces small low foaming, non-fluoride prepasted toothbrushes. Photos/Amanda Powers
Several months ago, Kerry Evans, a local man, went to the Highland School Board with an idea that came to him in a dream 20 years ago. Some may think this is crazy but he believed in the vision he had, so much, that now, 20 years later, his dream is becoming a reality.

From the time most children are able to do so, they are taught that they should brush their teeth at least three times a day. Some parents are great at enforcing this rule, and their children develop a habit that is soon interrupted by a school day.

Once children are in school, they do not have the resources available to brush their teeth during the day. This has just been accepted and ignored, until now. "There is no reason why children can't brush their teeth at school," Evans said. "I just wish I would have done this 20 years ago when I first had the dream."

Evans plans on introducing a program that will provide every student in every school throughout the United States with a toothbrush daily. While he realizes this is a huge goal to meet, he has already conquered the hardest step, getting started.

On April 6, Evans made an appearance at the Highland High School and presented his plan to the students. During their lunch hour, a small prepasted toothbrush was provided to every student who wanted one.

While prepasted brushes are not a new product, Evans said as far as he knows Highland is the first school in the U.S. to provide their students with them. The brushes are very small and the bristles are coated with a low foaming, non-fluoride paste that requires no spitting or rinsing.

The design leaves little room for anyone to make excuses for not brushing the recommended three times a day, if not more.

"By providing toothbrushes at school, we know that the kids are brushing their teeth at least once a day," Evans said. "Statistics show that brushing just once a day can add up to a year and a half to a person's life."

Evans said the program was well received at the high school. The following day he presented his plan, and brushes, to the middle school and April 8 he finished with the elementary. Evans said all went better than he had hoped for, which gave him added confidence.

"This is just a test run (in Highland) we will see how this goes and hopefully it will be something that is integrated into the lunch program."

According to Evans, the idea approved by the school board, is to send a note home informing parents of the program. The note will ask parents to pay $9 per semester for the toothbrushes to be provided.

While he is hopeful that parents will support the program, he does have a back-up plan. In order to cover the cost that parents are unable or unwilling to pay, he said he will ask area residents and businesses to "sponsor" the program by paying the difference.

"If this test run goes well next year we will try to integrate the cost of the brushes into the lunch price," he said. "It breaks down somewhere between 9 and 12 cents per day, per student - not too much to ask when it comes to their health."

The brushes are optional to the high schoolers and they can take them out of the lunch room to use them. The elementary students, because of their age, will have a brush placed on their lunch tray, those who bring sack lunches will be able to get one each day as well.

The elementary students are not allowed to take the brushes out of the cafeteria. While it is optional for them to use the toothbrushes at the end of lunch all brushes are to be placed inside of their milk cartons and disposed of.

As for other schools, Evans is taking this one step at a time as to not get overwhelmed. He said they have already received more orders than ever expected and hopefully this business will bring much needed jobs to the area as well.

The N-Sta-Smile brushes are also available to consumers in bulk or in small blister packs. Some local businesses have already placed them on their shelves.

Within the last month, Evans has also placed five vending machines in various places loaded with the handy brushes to see how that catches on.

"We are hoping to market to places like restaurants, bars, airports, casinos - anywhere people might feel they need to brush their teeth."

Evans can be reached at his office located within Wolff Creek Realty on Main Street Hardy. The office number is 870-856-2087.


Comments
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I don't think if you are purchasing a lunch ticket, that you should get anything other than a lunch, & be charged for a product you chose not to have, such as a tooth brush. This sounds like you will not have a choice, but majority rules. My kids have tooth brushes at home & if chooses, can take to school & use. I don't see where the state programs that make the free/reduced lunch programs should have to pay, & I don't think taxes should be raised to compensate. I don't think donations should be asked for the ones who can't, or don't want to. It should be a product on a shelf like any other, & if the customer wants or not, it is up to them & not forced on them. If the school wants to give extra time for kids to brush their teeth after lunch, then my children will be taking their own supplies to school to do so. We don't need to be paying for multiple items if not necessary. The economy is bad enough, it is hard enough for many to just provide day to day living. My children get their regularly scheduled dentist check-ups, & their health is my TOP priority. This just creates more waste. Is this product eco-friendly? What about the people who have allergic reactions to this product? They will be forced to pay, even though they physically can't use? Let school be school. And keep the solicitors out. Everytime you turn around someone is asking for something, we are all nickeled & dimed to death. I give what I can to all, as I can, but there are times when I have to tell someone no. And this is a time I'm saying NO.

-- Posted by okiedokie on Fri, Apr 17, 2009, at 9:33 AM

I was just wondering why the parents did not recieve a letter before this product was used on their children. Does a parent not have the right to choose what is being put in their childs mouth?? This concerns me deeply!! What would happen if the child did have an allergic reaction, without the parents knowing they used this product? I would like to comment on this also,"By providing toothbrushes at school, we know that the kids are brushing their teeth at least once a day". This is very disrespectful towards all parents, this sounds like we are incapable to take care of our own children!! It is a funny thing you can run down parents but yet turn right around and ask them for money to support your product in their school. I personally am very disappointed along with many others!

-- Posted by FOLLOW_JESUS! on Fri, Apr 17, 2009, at 10:20 AM

When did the public education system join forces with the medical/dental profession? They won't let a child have a cough drop without parents signing 17 times on the dotted line to give their permission (ok that's an exaggeration, but still) so the school won't be held libel for any outcome of chewing the cough drop, but they'll let a stranger give them a prepared toothbrush to pop in their mouth cause it's good for their teeth? It's one thing for a dentist to come and do such with proper parental notification, but this is something completely different.

-- Posted by blessedmama on Wed, Apr 22, 2009, at 12:41 PM

Highland schools have gone too far. Who is in charge? This sounds like an experiment used at children's expense. Since a letter was not sent home and the article says that the school is going to ask parents to pay 9 dollars a semester for this product. Who is paying for it now? Is our tax money to the schools going to a dream of Kerry Evans. What I am trying to get at is that the money invested into this product has caused the school to make a very poor decision and it caused my child harm. What was the hurry about introducing this product? I was told by the Elementary Principal that she didn't know the children were going to receive the toothbrush until Tuesday the 7th of April this seems like somebody higher up pushed this in to the school without letting the principal prepare teachers and parents about this product. The school system should have informed parents by letter before an Outsider was allowed to give children a product. My child had an allergic reaction to this product and nobody informed me about this product being used on my child. Doesn't the law have rules about having permission from parents before anything or anyone coming in contact with the child? My child's reaction to this product caused blisters and swelling of the gums. Did you know that this product is made in China and doesn't contain brand name toothpaste? This product also is adult strength along with being used on small children. I was told this product is FDA approved,( why does the school think this is good enough), what about ADA approved. ADA is the American Dental Association which approves toothpaste. The toothbrush that is being distributed at the school has an off brand toothpaste and I am wondering if anyone thought about this before giving it to children. I gave my child Benadryl when I noticed that she couldn't open her mouth and you could see the swelling of her gums almost touching her braces. I thought that maybe someone gave her something to eat that she was allergic to. My child is very sensitive to products but that didn't stop the school from giving her something to put into her mouth along with making her swallow the spit and saliva that this product made. (Without my Permission!) My Child has E-pen Jr. at the school along with Benadryl and an Abuteral inhaler she carries on her person. I had to fill out paper work just to make sure that she could have her medication and have it signed by her doctor. But the school can put a hygiene product in my child's mouth without asking and when she complained about her mouth burning a cafeteria helper told her that she was ok and to sit down and be quiet. What is wrong with people what if she would have stopped breathing completely? By the way my daughter is now in a different school and she is still having side effects from this product. I don't care if my child is the only one that has had a reaction she still was a student and she should matter. (I was told by Ronnie Brogdon that my daughter is the only one plus he stated that the product is FDA approved he didn't seem to care about what happened to my daughter by his tone of voice. He also cut me short when he asked how she was doing, making me feel like my daughter didn't matter to him) I have heard that some children are having headaches and nausea along with one child loosing hair..... I believe that it is time for parents to take a stand to protect the children of Highland. If the school board won't put a stop to this and be for our children instead of a product never used before on children we need to do something. I took my daughter to the dentist on the 9th of April..... The dentist gave me an absence return to school form that said pt. presents swelling of the gum tissue in using N-Sta Smile, please allow her to bring her own toothbrush and toothpaste. My daughter had a pallet stretcher with braces on her front teeth, I believe that this toothpaste reacted with the metal in her mouth. When the dentist removed her braces her gums calmed down by the following evening. I am asking parents to please help stop the use of this product before others get hurt. This could have been prevented if I would have been notified because my child seems to have sensitivity to toothpaste. All it would have taken was a note! Plus when she did complain about her mouth burning nobody could take the time to help or give her medication to prevent the blisters and swelling.

-- Posted by proudmammaof3 on Fri, Apr 24, 2009, at 1:00 PM


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