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Up to 2,000 children in Arkansas are set to benefit from a free procedure intended to improve their dental health.
As part of the program, dental sealants will be applied to the chewing surfaces of the children's teeth to protect the enamel against plaque and acids.
Approximately 90 percent of decay in junior teeth occurs in the deep grooves targeted by the sealant, health officials state.
"Studies show that many children are exceptional candidates for dental sealants," according to Mark Ritz of the Academy of General Dentistry.
"Parents should consider sealants as a preventive measure in their child's oral health and discuss this option with their dentist."
Students at Martin Luther King Magnet Elementary in Little Rock were the first to benefit from the program, which got underway Friday.
The initiative - entitled Seal the State - is being led by the state's department of health in conjunction with Arkansas Children's Hospital.
Almost one-third of children surveyed as part of a statewide screening program were discovered to have poor dental health in the form of tooth decay.
For more information on discount dental plans, call 1-888-632-5353.
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