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Teens invited to dental party

| December 3, 2010 8:00 PM

HAYDEN - Panhandle Health District will team up with Project Safe Place this month to offer teens an unexpected holiday gift - no-cost protection from tooth decay.

On Friday, Dec. 10, PHD dental hygienists will provide dental screenings, fluoride varnish, dental sealants, referrals and education to area teens from low-income families. Such services typically can cost up to $400.

The "dental party" at the Project Safe Place drop-in center in Coeur d'Alene will include mouth-healthy snacks supplied by the United Dairymen of Idaho; fun door prizes from teen-friendly stores, restaurants and movie theaters; and daily dental supplies to take home from the Regence Caring Foundation.

"We're so excited we could work with Project Safe Place to get dental hygiene services to kids in this age group," said Linda Harder, coordinator of PHD's oral health program. "We're hoping local dentists will participate and donate their services, too."

Dental sealant is an antibacterial liquid that's painted onto the chewing surfaces of permanent molars. The sealant reduces the risk of cavities on those teeth. Fluoride varnish is a liquid coating a hygienist brushes onto teeth.

It dries instantly and provides a protective coating of fluoride. The varnish releases fluoride over several months, which strengthens teeth and helps to prevent decay.

Teens who participate in the dental party need a consent form signed by a parent or guardian. The forms are available at area middle and high schools, Project Safe Place and the Panhandle Health District. Appointments also are necessary. For an appointment, call 415-5143 by 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9.

The dental party will take place at the Project Safe Place teen drop-in center at 201 E. Harrison Ave. from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10.

Project Safe Place is a multi-service prevention and outreach program through Volunteers of America that provides immediate help and supportive resources for youth age 13 through 17 when they're in crisis. Teens come to Project Safe Place on the brink of homelessness, at risk of separating from their families, lacking after-school supervision, victims of abuse, struggling with school or bullying, in need of emergency shelter and more.

For more information on PHD's oral health program, visit www.phd1.idaho.gov.

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