Free fluoride varnish, sealants provided by USD Dental Hygiene

The University of South Dakota's Department of Dental Hygiene is offering a free fluoride varnishes and sealants to anyone 18 years and younger by appointment. A grant from the South Dakota Department of Health is making the dental screenings available.

The screenings will be Wednesday, Feb. 10 and Thursday, Feb. 11, Wednesday, March 31 and Thursday, April 1 and Thursday, April 22 in Sioux Falls and Vermillion. Hours vary and a limited number of appointments remain. Call (605) 367-8046 for an appointment in Sioux Falls or (605) 677-5378 for an appointment in Vermillion.

A parent or guardian must accompany children during the appointment.

"Fluoride and sealants are two effective ways to prevent cavities," said Ann Brunick, RDH, M.S., chair of the dental hygiene program.

Fluoride varnish is a protective coating that is painted on teeth to help prevent new cavities and help slow cavities that have just started. The procedure is approved by the FDA and endorsed by the American Dental Association and Dental Hygienists Association.

Sealants are made of thin, plastic material and are placed on the chewing surface of back teeth to seal off grooves and pits so that bacteria cannot enter them and start the decaying process.

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