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Dental Health Program

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School-base fluoride varnish program to all head starts, preschools, and public schools and long term facilities in PPHD’s district. PPHD’s Public Health Registered Dental Hygienist coordinates with all participating schools and provides dental screenings to alert the parent/guardian of the need for dental treatment and will apply fluoride treatments that are approved through parent/guardian approval.

Is your school participating in PPHD’s Dental Health Program-Keeping Teeth Strong. You can call your child’s school or PPHD at 308-633-2866. This program does NOT replace your child’s regular dental visits.

Fluoride Varnish Facts:

  • Re-mineralizes weakened tooth enamel and prevents almost 40% of cavities in primary (baby) teeth.
  • Fluoride varnish is a sticky, honey like material that is applied to the teeth with a small brush.  It is called varnish due to its sticky consistency.
  • Fluoride varnish can be applied 4-6 times per year, and can decrease further cavity development by about 38%.
  • A typical fluoride varnish application costs roughly $30 plus the cost of an office visit.
  • Fluoride varnish is safe.  It adheres to teeth once it comes in contact with saliva and is precisely applied to the teeth. 
  • Fluoride varnish is approved by the American Dental Association and the Federal Drug Administration.
  • Fluoride is an effective way to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Another safe and beneficial way to prevent decay is varnish (sealant). 

Dental Sealant Facts:

  • Tooth decay often begins on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These surfaces have pits and grooves that trap plaque, bacteria, and bits of food. The pits and grooves are hard to keep clean, because toothbrush bristles cannot reach into them.
  • A dental sealant is a plastic material (resin) applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant material flows into the pits and grooves in the teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel by sealing out plaque, bacteria, and food.

  • Sealants are most often placed in children and teenagers, since tooth decay can start soon after teeth come in. But adults can sometimes benefit from sealants too, because you never outgrow the risk for developing cavities.

 Click here for more supporting evidence for school-based dental programs.

The CDC provides some facts about the benefits of sealants.


Parents and Caregivers: Here are some things you can do to ensure good oral health for your child:

  • Ensure your child brushes their teeth. For younger children, let them practice brushing but then the parent/caregiver needs to brush the child’s teeth as well.
    • Protect your child's teeth with fluoride.
    • Use fluoride toothpaste.
    • If your child is younger than age 6, watch your child brush their teeth. Make sure your child only uses a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always spits it out rather than swallows it.
    • If your child is younger than age 2, do not use fluoride toothpaste unless your doctor or dentist tells you to.
    • Talk to your pediatrician, family doctor, nurse, or dentist about putting fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears in the mouth.
  • Talk to your child's dentist about dental sealants. Sealants protect teeth from decay.
  • Have your child visit a dentist for a first checkup by age 1, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • If your school does not have sealant program, ask them to start one.
  • Find a dentist for your child. For a comprehensive list of dentists in the Panhandle, please contact PPHD at 308-633-2866 or request via email to klauruhn@pphd.org.

More Oral Health Basics: http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/index.html

For more information on our school based program and our long-term facility preventive services please contact:

Kendra Lauruhn, PHRDH
Public Health Registered Dental Hygienist
308-633-2866 ext 106


Updated: February 9, 2017