Darts and laurels

  • Posted: Saturday, September 21, 2013 12:38 a.m.

Dart to “Mountain Dew mouth” in the hills of Appalachia, the subject of a recent NPR piece that drilled down into the dental hazards of sipping too much sugary soda. Health advocates have warned for years that drinking too much soda can contribute to obesity and diabetes. Now, they’re trying to raise awareness of potential dental damage caused by the sugars and acids in sodas. Mountain Dew draws special attention because it’s the most popular soda in the Appalachian region, which also has some of the nation’s highest rates of tooth decay. While the beverage industry disputes soda’s culpability, some public health advocates are calling for policy changes, including restricting soda purchases with food stamps. But as with many other health risks, the root cause — no pun intended — relates to poverty and lack of access to affordable health care. Meanwhile, the N.C. legislature rejected federal funding that would have expanded Medicaid for the state’s neediest residents, and the GOP-led U.S. House is making a last, desperate attempt to derail implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

laurels to community support for the upcoming Missions of Mercy dental clinic at Catawba College Sept. 27-28. Because of an overwhelming response, clinic organizers say they exceeded their goal for volunteers to help staff the two-day event for low-income residents needing dental care. However, there’s still a need for donations of zip lock sandwich bags, travel size tubes of toothpaste (any brand in original unopened box) and 10-gallon trash can liners. You can deliver donations to the First Presbyterian Church office, 308 W. Fisher Street. For more information on the clinic, which is expected to serve hundreds of patients at Catawba’s Goodman Gym, visit www.ncmom-salisbury.com.

Dart to North Carolina’s first West Nile Virus death of the year, recently confirmed in Wilson County. The disease is rare in North Carolina, where other mosquito-borne diseases such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis and LaCrosse Encephalitis are more of a problem, but there have been about 700 West Nile cases and 28 deaths nationwide this year. Meanwhile, bear in mind that, even with falling temperatures, mosquito season continues for another month or so. Minimize standing water around your residence and take suitable precautions when spending time outdoors.

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