USD's Dental Hygiene Program offering free fluoride varnish, sealants

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota’s Department of Dental Hygiene is offering free fluoride varnish and sealants to anyone 18 years and younger by appointment. The dental decay prevention program is being sponsored by grant funding obtained by the South Dakota Department of Health.

The screenings are Jan. 28, Feb. 10-11, March 31, April 1, April 21 and April 22 in Sioux Falls and Vermillion. Hours vary. A limited number of appointments remain. Call (605) 367-8046 for an appointment in Sioux Falls or call (605) 677-5378 for an appointment in Vermillion.

A parent or guardian must accompany children during the appointment.

Fluoride varnish is a protective coating that is painted on teeth to help fight cavities. The procedure is approved by the FDA and endorsed by the American Dental Association and American 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.

“Fluoride and sealants are two effective ways to prevent cavities and protect teeth,” said Ann Brunick, RDH, M.S., chairperson of the dental hygiene program.