CDC Vital Signs: Dental Sealants Prevent Cavities
Effective protection for children
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.