CDC Vi­tal Signs: Den­tal Sealants Pre­vent Cav­i­ties

Ef­fec­tive pro­tec­tion for chil­dren

Wellness Update - - Content -

Den­tal sealants are thin coat­ings that when painted on the chew­ing sur­faces of the back teeth (mo­lars) can pre­vent cav­i­ties for many years. School-age chil­dren (ages 6-11) without sealants have al­most 3 times more 1st mo­lar cav­i­ties than those with sealants. Al­though the over­all num­ber of chil­dren with sealants has in­creased over time, low-in­come chil­dren are 20% less likely to have them and 2 times more likely to have un­treated cav­i­ties than higher-in­come chil­dren. Un­treated cav­i­ties can cause pain, in­fec­tion, and prob­lems eat­ing, speak­ing, and learn­ing. States can help mil­lions more chil­dren pre­vent cav­i­ties by start­ing or ex­pand­ing pro­grams that of­fer den­tal sealants in schools.

State of­fi­cials can:

Tar­get school-based sealant pro­grams to ar­eas where chil­dren are at higher risk for cav­i­ties. Track the num­ber of schools and chil­dren par­tic­i­pat­ing in sealant pro­grams. Im­ple­ment poli­cies that al­low school-based sealant pro­grams to op­er­ate in the most cost-ef­fec­tive man­ner. Help schools con­nect to Med­i­caid and the Chil­dren's Health In­sur­ance Pro­gram (CHIP), lo­cal health depart­ment clinics, com­mu­nity health cen­ters, and den­tal providers in the com­mu­nity to foster more use of sealants and re­im­burse­ment of ser­vices.

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