About 7 million low-income children need sealants.
What are sealants?
Sealants are thin coatings painted on teeth to protect them from cavities. They flow into the deep grooves of teeth and harden immediately so a child is able to chew right away. Sealants prevent the most cavities when applied soon after permanent molars come into the mouth (around age 6 for 1st molars and age 12 for 2nd molars). Sealants can be applied by a dentist, dental hygienist, or other qualified dental professional, depending on state law and regulations. This can be done in dental offices or using portable dental equipment in community settings like a school.
Why use sealants?
Sealants are a quick, easy, and painless way to prevent most of the cavities children get in the permanent back teeth, where 9 in 10 cavities occur. Once applied, sealants protect against 80% of cavities for 2 years and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to 4 years. Sealants can eliminate the need for expensive and invasive treatments like dental fillings or crowns. Applying sealants in schools for about 7 million low-income children who don’t have them could save up to $300 million in dental treatment costs.