Letters to the Editor

November 1, 2012

Letters to the editor on fluoridation, Norton, Hutton, Dillmore, Ballinger, Obama

Residents of our city who have healthy teeth might not understand what’s at stake in Tuesday’s ballot initiative to fluoridate Wichita’s community water system. I wish they could see what I see nearly every week as a physician in Via Christi’s emergency departments.

Lack of fluoride causing ER visits

Residents of our city who have healthy teeth might not understand what’s at stake in Tuesday’s ballot initiative to fluoridate Wichita’s community water system. I wish they could see what I see nearly every week as a physician in Via Christi’s emergency departments.

During this past fiscal year, 3,214 patients sought treatment in our emergency facilities for toothaches or other dental-related problems – many of which were preventable. I worked for several years at a Kansas City hospital, and the share of dental cases I’ve observed in Wichita is much higher than what I was seeing in Kansas City.

Although various factors are involved, there is no question in my mind that most of this difference can be traced to a simple fact: Kansas City fluoridates its drinking water and Wichita does not.

Why is Wichita one of the largest cities in the country without fluoridated water? Because a small, yet vocal, band of opponents has used fear and misinformation to confuse the public. If there were any truth to the claims they make about fluoride’s safety, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Kansas City and other communities that fluoridate would be filled with sick people.

The real experts who have studied this issue have reached a firm conclusion: Fluoridation is safe and effective for children and adults.



Fluoride not safe

Fluoride is not a nutrient and is unnecessary for healthy teeth. Fluoridation is, therefore, a form of medication for all that ought to be held to the same ethical and legal standards that are required for disclosure of potential harm from prescription items taken by those who might be sensitive to them.

Not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for ingestion, silicofluoride byproducts from the phosphate fertilizer industry used for fluoridation can have a wide range of toxic effects.

In contrast, good nutrition and oral hygiene have long been known to be safe and effective ways to prevent tooth decay. In 1963, the FDA approved the use of xylitol as a dietary supplement sweetener. As retired teacher Dorothy Gray reported in her Oct. 14 Eagle letter to the editor, children at the Stanley Elementary School in Wichita had only positive dental results from the voluntary Xylitol Project she was involved with there. Professor Ezekiel J. Emanuel also wrote about the benefits of xylitol in the New York Times on Oct. 21. Expansion of that approach would be an effective, safe and far more economical choice than fluoridation.



Norton committed

I have had the privilege to work with Tim Norton through a variety of community events, civic organizations and nonprofit agencies. His dedication and commitment have assisted Sedgwick County in becoming a better place for children and families to live.

Norton has been an instrumental member of the Kansas chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America. The core values of this organization are valuing children, strengthening families and engaging communities.

Norton has adopted these core values. Each decision he makes as a commissioner is based on these core values.

I encourage you to vote for Tim Norton, so he can continue the hard work to provide a fruitful future for our children and families.



Hutton needed

I’ve known Mark Hutton, candidate for Kansas House District 105, for 30 years. He is a man of integrity, a man of vision and a person who has the ability to evaluate a problem and come up with practical and workable solutions. He is the kind of person we need in our state government.



No rubber stamp

Since Gov. Sam Brownback took office, there have been cuts in funding to the arts, to education and to the mentally ill, to name a few. Next on target are the elderly and disabled who, with their families, wait in horrified suspense to see if the feds will approve the governor’s absurd idea regarding Medicaid (KanCare). Along with cuts in services, the governor has successfully pushed cuts to the state income tax, a strategy that unduly benefits those at the upper end. Some of them were made exempt from the tax altogether.

State Rep. Nile Dillmore, D-Wichita, does not share the governor’s ideology. Dillmore realizes that cuts in taxes will mean even more cuts in state programs that are vital to people in Kansas. He has opposed cutting programs and taxes.

Dillmore’s opponent, also an incumbent, has heartily supported them. Their records differ starkly. A vote for her is a vote for the governor’s policies. A vote for him is a vote for reasoned positions reached through discussions with constituents of their needs and opinions.

Nile Dillmore is nobody’s rubber stamp.



Re-elect Ballinger

There is a Sedgwick County District Court judge with a wonderful record, devoted to working in a field (probate) that gets little glory but affects people’s lives as dramatically as any TV courtroom drama might suggest – a judge with a personable touch and yet always conscious of the law. It is a no-brainer to re-elect Richard Ballinger.

As a psychologist, I personally have seen how Ballinger makes the system work for the community’s benefit and safety. The community benefits from having him on the bench.



March forward

Colin Powell, secretary of state under the Bush administration and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked how he was going to vote in this election. He said with conviction that he would vote for Barack Obama.

He was then asked why, given that he is a Republican. His responses included:

•  When Obama took office, we were in a near depression. During his term, the economy has begun to turn around — the unemployment rate is on its way down, the automobile industry has been preserved and the loans are being repaid, and the housing industry is rebounding.
•  We are closing down two unnecessary and unwinnable wars.
•  There are more than 30 million uninsured men, women and children who will be covered by health insurance.

As was stated by Davis Merritt, Mitt Romney “became wealthy by doing or saying anything to ‘close the deal’” (Oct. 30 Opinion). But Romney can’t “fix and flip” our country, like he did with businesses when he was at Bain Capital.

For those and other reasons, I am voting for the re-election of President Obama. With him, we will know which president we will be getting in that important office, and we will be able to continue our positive march forward for our country.



Asleep at wheel

President Obama slept during the first debate, and he has neglected government affairs while going on talk shows and doing what he does best: campaign fundraising. Is he going to be asleep at the wheel when we are attacked by jihadi extremists?



Related content



Editor's Choice Videos