Sealants are plastic coatings that are placed over the chewing surfaces of teeth—usually molars—to protect them from cavities. They can reduce tooth decay by up to 80 percent, saving money for patients and states: Sealants are typically just one-third the price of a cavity filling. School-based sealant programs, which are often found in elementary schools with high numbers of low-income children, are the best way to deliver this powerful preventive treatment to children who have the greatest need for care yet face the most substantial barriers.

Improvements in dental health care in the United States have not been equally shared by all groups.
Improvements in dental health care in the United States have not been equally shared by all groups.
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Who Lacks Access?

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Who Lacks Access?

Dental health in the United States has improved substantially in the past few decades, but not everyone has benefited equally.

What Are Dental Therapists?
Dental providers
Dental providers
Article

5 Dental Therapy FAQs

FAQs
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Another type of provider is helping dentists in private practice and public health settings address the gaps in access to dental health care that many Americans face.

FAQs
Dental Sealants
Dental Sealants
Report

States Stalled on Dental Sealant Programs

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Report

In 2013, the Pew children’s dental campaign released a report evaluating all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their performance in sealing the teeth of low-income children. This follow-up report describes whether states have progressed on this goal over the last two years, with analysis based on surveys of dental directors and state dental boards.

dental care is one of the nation’s greatest unmet children’s health needs
dental care is one of the nation’s greatest unmet children’s health needs
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Children’s Dental Health Disparities

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Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among U.S. children, five times as prevalent as asthma, and dental care is one of the nation’s greatest unmet children’s health needs, especially in low-income, minority, and rural communities.

Dental checkup
Dental checkup
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For Low-Income Kids, Sealants Prevented Nearly 1 Million Cavities Over 10 Years

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The number of low-income children with sealants increased by about 70 percent from 1999-2004 to 2011-14, which prevented almost 1 million cavities in this group, according to a new analysis released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).