Wednesday, October 19, 2016

School dental-sealant programs could prevent most cavities, lower treatment costs in vulnerable children

Research shows dental sealants to shield the back teeth could prevent up to 80 percent of cavities in school-aged children. They are quick, easy, and painless to apply – yet according to a new CDC Vital Signs, about 60 percent of school children ages 6-11 years don’t get dental sealants.

Dental sealants are a thin coating that is painted on teeth to protect them from cavities. One way to provide sealants to more children is by increasing their access to school-based sealant programs (SBSPs).

SBSPs are especially important for children from low-income families because such children are less likely to receive dental care. These programs target schools with a high percentage of children eligible for free or reduced-cost meal programs. As a result, SBSPs provide sealants to children who are at higher risk for cavities and less likely to receive preventive care.

Sealants provided in school settings are effective. Recent studies found that dental sealants prevent 80 percent of cavities for two years after application and continue to protect against 50 percent of cavities for up to 4 years after placement. They can be retained in the mouth for as long as nine years.

To learn more, go to CDC Vital Signs

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