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Monday, May 2, 2016

N-Sta-Smile causes reaction

Thursday, April 30, 2009

For most parents and guardians, the safety of their children is their primary concern. Parents are in control of the majority of things that enter their children's bodies with the exception of the time when they are in school. For this reason, the Highland School Board's recent decision to implement dental hygiene practices through the distribution of the N-Sta-Smile disposable pasted toothbrushes has raised concerns by numerous parents in the district.

While the overall intention of the distribution of these toothbrushes was good and intended only to help the students of Highland schools to be able to include an extra brushing during school hours, lack of planning in respect to the distribution of this new product has raised some problems.

N-Sta-Smile is a "low pasted" disposable toothbrush that was invented by local businessman Kerry Evans who thought it would be great to give the children an opportunity to brush their teeth during the day while in school, helping them to reach American Dental Association's recommended three brushings per day. The students at the elementary school began receiving this product free of charge on their lunch trays on April 15, and the middle and high schools also began distribution the same week. The elementary students do not have a place in which to rinse the toothpaste. One parent was concerned with her child swallowing the product on a daily basis. However, the older students in both the middle and high school are able to rinse if they wish. It is not mandatory that any child use the product, however a large percentage of students do.

The parent of one 8-year-old child was outraged when her daughter came home from school after using the N-Sta-Smile product on the first day of distribution with extremely swollen and blistered gums and complaining of mouth pain. The following day, the child was taken to her dentist and had to have her Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) device removed from her mouth due to the swelling. This is a device, which is bracketed to the teeth in a very similar manner as orthodontic braces.

The mother said her daughter has known allergies to eggs and other things that were on record with the elementary school as well as having an Epipen and Benedryl available to her child. When the child returned from school with the blisters in her mouth, her mother was terrified because she did not know what was wrong until her daughter told her about using the N-Sta-Smile brush at school. Since the parent did not have a package from the product to review the ingredients, she was terrified that it might have contained one of the child's known allergens. She said "I was never informed of them going to give this to my child or I would never have agreed. I would have sent her own toothbrush to school."

As with any new product, planning is detrimental to success. Highland High School Superintendent Ronnie Brogdon says, "I am taking responsibility for this. If I would have done what I should have done, I would have sent a letter to parents and we are sending a letter to parents. We don't want parents to be upset about this. We want parents to understand we are trying to develop their total child, if they don't want to participate that is fine, we aren't going to force anybody to participate."

He realizes notes should have been distributed, but said that, "It honestly never crossed my mind that a child would have an allergy to toothpaste." As with implementing any new product or program, it is a learning process. The child's dentist explained that children are not necessarily allergic to a particular toothpaste, but more so, ingredients contained within a product. Sulfate, the ingredient that makes toothpaste sudsy is a big allergen, because it contains the ingredient sulfur which can interact with the metal on braces if it is not rinsed. Another common allergen is mint. Because this product is not being rinsed in the elementary school, it remains on children's teeth and is swallowed. Although there is very little paste, it is a genuine parental concern. The product is approved by the Food and Drug Administration but is not approved by the American Dental Association, the association that endorses a large percentage of name brand toothpaste, brushes and other dental related products.

Evans said that N-Sta-Smile might change the product to make it have an even lower amount of paste for the smaller children. When contacted, he said that he felt terrible about the problem and that he would "do everything I can to correct any problems that might occur."

The Cherokee Village Elementary School sent out notes to parents regarding the product on April 24. Evans said he would consider some manner in which to put the ingredients and warning label on the product but did mention the very small size of the packaging.

Besides the allergen concern and the fact that elementary students do not rinse after using this product, some parents were angry regarding whether dental hygiene should be included in the realm of the education process. Others said that it should be up to the parents to take care of their children's dental concerns.

Brogdon explained that, "I think that whether we realize it or not, there is a big push across America and in particular in Arkansas about health and nutrition. We have committees that we are supposed to be working at to try to improve the health and nutrition. That is one of the reasons you don't have all these soft drinks and things in school that you used to have. All of that has to do with the total well-being of the child. Again, we are not trying to do anything to step on any parent's toes. And I realize as superintendent and I think our school board realizes that there are a lot of parents who have their children brush their teeth regularly, unfortunately there are a lot of kids who don't have that opportunity."

Other than these concerns, one parent of a Highland School District student was afraid that since the school bought into the marketing of this product, that this would make the school system a potential target for the marketing of all new innovative health related products. Brogdon said that he did not see this as being an issue.

Yet another parent was concerned with the safety of the ingredients since N-Sta-Smile is manufactured in China, a country which is renowned for their lower than American standards in respect to health and safety in the manufacturing process. Brogdon said, "This product is as safe as any product you would get off the shelves at Walmart with the exception of those who might have an allergy." He further stated regarding the manufacture in China, "It is manufactured in China but has FDA approval for shipment and for receiving in the U.S." When asked if he knew of any testing on the product, both Evans and Brogdon were in agreement that if something is approved by the FDA most anyone would assume that they test the products before being approved for use by the general public. This is, in fact, a very common misconception. Information obtained from the Food and Drug Administration's Web site states "The FDA does not develop or test products itself." Brogdon said that he hopes in the future N-Sta-Smile can be manufactured in Sharp County and create much needed jobs for residents.

When any new program is implemented questions regarding funding are often the first ones asked of the public, and N-Sta-Smile is not immune to that. At this time, the products are free but Brogdon explained that at the time they begin to cost, the district will seek donations and that there is no plan to increase lunch prices to include the expense of these toothbrushes and the rumors about getting the free lunch program to pay for them is untrue. Brogdon explained that this dental hygiene program is, "for all children in the district, not just those on free or reduced lunches," and further stated that " The free lunch system wouldn't pay for them," that it is a federal program.

While the intention of this product is only to help the children and not hurt them, perhaps implementing changes in the product's paste levels, attaching warning labels and making parents aware of the ingredients, this program will continue to be beneficial to the students and parents of the Highland School District. Brodgon made a statement to the parents of children in the district saying, "I think there is enough benefits to this program, that it could be a long term great program. It is just like anything new, there are just some wrinkles that need to be worked out."

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I know it takes a while for things to be FDA approved but in the article it says it is FDA approved for shipping and receiving in the USA but that doesnt mean it is FDA approved. So therefore, the product is not FDA approved. I believe that just because the Superintendent Ronnie Brogdon is taking the blame now he is trying to fix everything. Just wondering why he didnt want to take responsibility for the little girl with the blisters. Now they want to apologize I believe the product should be gone for good.

-- Posted by Gorgo05 on Thu, Apr 30, 2009, at 6:44 PM

If the parents are so concerned with the child's dental hygiene, they should make sure that they send toothbrush and paste with their child to school. They use to have a program in kindergarten many many years ago where parents could send toothpaste and brush and the kids were allowed to brush their teeth after lunch. What ever happened to that?

-- Posted by Hem on Fri, May 1, 2009, at 7:05 AM

Evans & Brogdon were in agreement that if something is approved by the FDA most anyone would ASSUME that they test the products before being approved for use by the general public. Well, I went to Highland, & I remember what Brogdon's wife, Mrs. Brogdon, had to say about the word "assume". It makes an a__ out of u & me. So, they assumed for their benefit, when actually the article continues to tell you, that the FDA does not develop or test the products themselves. Brogdon, also talks about, unfortunately there are children who don't have the opportunity to brush their teeth regularly. Is Brogdon tugging at our heart strings for HIS benefit? Now, after the fact, letters have gone out, but it states in the letter that if you feel you don't want your child to participate, to please contact the school(s). Is this a survey? Are they going to count how many calls they get to decide if they're going to keep on trying to get this going or not?Most of us are are busy, & I'm sure there are parents who don't want their children to participate, but won't make the call, because there are just more important things to do. I still say if Evans wants to sell his product, he should do so just like everyone else, in the store, on the shelf. Yes, let's build a plant here & increase jobs, truck it across the U.S. & sell it on a shelf. There is more going on here than is being told. Again, I am not interested. I give what & when I can to all the community, this is a donation I will not contribute to.

-- Posted by okiedokie on Fri, May 1, 2009, at 3:04 PM

Now that someone wants to take responsibility for something. The child with the blisters in her mouth had about one thousand dollars worth of dental work taken out of her mouth because of this N-Sta-Smile crap. Is anyone going to be responsible enough to pay to have it put back in when her mouth heels, or is that another bill her parents will have to pay along with the doctor and dentist bill they have already had to pay due to an experiment?

-- Posted by JUST FOR YOU on Fri, May 1, 2009, at 10:04 PM

Come on, the kids are brushing their teeth. There are lots of "disposable" products on the market with sulfate impregenated bristles. Quit making a big deal out of a free program for dental hygene. Aren't you tired of the jokes about southerners having a few teeth in their head? Why don't you gripe about the Highland Planning and Zoning Ordainances? At least that means something. Brushing your teeth is positive!

-- Posted by HardyBoy on Fri, May 1, 2009, at 11:41 PM

I also would like to Know who is going to pay for that little girls mouth to be fixed the way it was after she has healed! This is crazy! I think you have stepped way over the line! Bottom line, we gave birth to these children they are not your lab rats! You should do your jobs and teach our children and let the parents decide what is best for their children! Your boundaries have been crossed. Crest makes throw away toothbrushes called whipits, it is not a new product and if the parents want the child to have these they are safe and approved (sold in the tooth paste isle at walmart)! This away it will be up to the child's parent and not the school and everyone is happy. Except of coarse the ones trying to make a buck! Not to mention is it really good hygiene with kids brushing their teeth at the lunch table while kids are eatting? Just a thought! God Bless!

-- Posted by FOLLOW_JESUS! on Sun, May 3, 2009, at 10:49 AM

To your response Hardy Boy. This is not always going to be a free program. After a while they want donations, or will find a way to have you pay for it even if you don't want it. I'd rather send my children to school with toothbrushes, plus knowing they already are brushing twice a day at home, & then give a donation to something like making sure a family gets food. Trust me, there is more to this than is being told.

-- Posted by okiedokie on Mon, May 4, 2009, at 11:51 AM

Brushing teeth is a positive thing but I want to know where Evens and Brogdon are getting their information. I pulled this right off of the FDA website (the FDA does not develop or test products itself. The Agency does this pre-market review for new human drugs and biologics). I don't believe that this product was tested AT ALL! My dentist told me that using this product (that is not ADA approved like the ones you get at Wal Mart) on a daily basis is not healthy. The reason for this is that this product is ingested and swallowed. These toothbrushes are to be used only when your regular toothbrush is inexcusable. The N-Sta Smile doesn't contain Fluoride which is the only ingredient that prevents cavities. The N-Sta Smile cannot have fluoride because it is swallowed making this toothbrush WORTHLESS! The only thing that this product can do is make your breath fresh; swallowing on a daily basis (like the children at the elementary school are doing) is not SAFE! Ok Hardy Boy you have opened up a can of worms you think that this isn't a big deal. Let me give you some information. In both articles Even stated that the American Dental Association wants us to brush three times a day. Well I looked this up and I thought you would enjoy this. This is From the American Dental Association:

PDF] ADA.org: Shining Smiles!

"... Now we know how important it is to keep our teeth clean. We should brush two times

a day to keep ... Get several answers.] Yes, your dentist looks for many things ... "

www.ada.org/public/education/teachers/sm... - 2006-03-07

[ More results from this section on ADA.org. ]

The statement made about brushing three times a day has been outdated since 2007. Hardy Boy says not to make a big deal out of free dental hygiene. The first newspaper article stated that a letter would be asking parents for 9 dollars a semester to keep this product in the school. This doesn't sound very free. Now that this product is free in this article, why are people indorsing 10 dollars to invest into this product at the school. Even is asking people for money!!!!!

Ok Hardy Boy you said "Aren't you tired of the jokes about southerners having a few teeth in their head?" The main solution to this problem is our water system in Arkansas. According to the American Dental Association. "For over five decades, the American Dental Association has continuously endorsed the fluoridation of community water supplies and the use of fluoride-containing products as safe and effective measures for preventing tooth decay. Fluoride and Fluoridation contains resources that provide important facts and answer a myriad of questions. New information and resources will be added to this area as they become available. In the following sections, you will find the latest information about fluoride and fluoridation." Hardy boy you also said this "Why don't you gripe about the Highland Planning and Zoning Ordinances? At least that means something. Brushing your teeth is positive!" What does this mean! Are you trying to get the general public to ignore one situation to focus on another situation. I want to stay on topic and believe me there are more problems in this community but this is a discussion about N-Sta Smile.

When you said at least this means something, this is hurtful to me because I am the parent with the little girl that got hurt. Doesn't my daughter deserve some recognition? I know that she is only one child but that should matter enough. This topic matters to me a great deal and it should to anyone who has a child at a Highland School. I am so glad that my daughter is a wrinkle or a bump in Ronnie Brogdon's learning process (as he stated). I am so tired of people taking advantage of children for what they ASSUME is a good thing. I believe that money is behind this 100%. Or the school would have done something about serving this product. I am upset about the school not taking responsibility for not sending a NOTE. Having the Parents OK should have been FIRST. A NOTE is the problem and the damage is already done. Nobody has said sorry for what has happened! I think that at least an apology is due. NOW I WILL DO MY REASURCE TO HELP THE REST OF HIGHLAND STUDENTS NOT GET HURT!!!!

-- Posted by proudmammaof3 on Mon, May 4, 2009, at 1:31 PM

It is aparant that Kerry Evans was using our children as a test bed or stepping stone for his product. You are right okiedokie. There is more here than meets the eye.... and I think we all know what that is. Money to be made $$$$. Wasn't Kerry Evans also the money man behind the push to make the county wet? I am sure he had something there to gain also. I just find it hard to believe that he had our childrens best interest at heart.

-- Posted by S-R-V on Mon, May 4, 2009, at 1:36 PM

First of all why would this even be needed in any school system? Why waste the money? Sure it's free right now, but as said before eventually they will be asking for donations.Why should people even be asked to give their hard earned money for something not necessary.( God knows everyone should be mindful of their money at this time) If a parent wants their child to brush after lunch have them bring their toothbrush and paste along with them from home. I know I've used the word money a few times in this post but, That's what all this boils down to some local entrepreneur(which is a joke in itself) soliciting this product for his own monetary gain.

Oh and if Ronnie Brogdon was really taking responsibility for this he'd be: 1. Publicly Apologizing for the iressposible approach he took with the introduction of this product.

2.Finding a way to pay for the dental care of the little girl who was harmed by this oh so apparently ineffective product and 3. Taking The product completely out of the school. because as I said it is unnecessary.

As to the comment made by Hardyboy. Oh there are many remarks I'd like to make. Yeah there are a lot of disposable products on the market but most of these are from trusted name brand companies not from unknown companies from China! Just that fact proves that the men promoting this product are not concerned about the well being of the children in are community nor do they respect the parents. Oh and aren't you tired of people using stereotypical humorous statements to make a point. ha ha your so funny not! and I'm sure the Highland Planning and Zoning Ordinances are a grand topic to gripe about but this is where your suppose to discuss this particular story. but thanks for trying to get people off the point.nice try! and as for this not meaning anything. A little girl was hurt by this product. If you think that doesn't mean anything you sir are completely heartless.

Okay so in conclusion. Yes I think kids brushing their teeth at school is a good idea but I believe that the parents should provide what is used at home and trusted. People of the community should not be putting their money in the hands of greedy men who only care about the bulk of their wallet and not of the effects of their greed.

-- Posted by TheUsed on Mon, May 4, 2009, at 5:26 PM

I believe that it's only with the best of intentions that both Kerry Wane & Mr. Brogdon implemented this program at Highland, but the lack of planning and consideration for the thoughts of parents has led to some problems, to say the least. No, I don't believe it is right that an additional fee should be incorporated into lunch charges or anything such as that. If you are seeking to benefit students, nickel-and-diming their parents is definitely NOT the answer.

I heard that at Beach Club BBQ there is a vending machine for the N-Sta-Smile. Why not just put one of these at each school in a convenient location? That way, students can CHOOSE to spend some spare change on a toothbrush. Also, you could very easily place a warning label and ingredients list on the vending machine, solving the problem of "small packaging".

I think that if these suggestions were actually followed, that it would be a sensible compromise for both Kerry Wane and Highland Parents. No program should be FORCED upon parents to contribute, especially when our school district has so many families below poverty level.

I think next time, a little consideration for the regards of others rather than hasty entrepreneurship would be more beneficial. For EVERYONE involved.

-- Posted by Renee21 on Sun, May 10, 2009, at 2:36 AM

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