Although tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for children and teens, many kids are not receiving dental sealants — a proven form of prevention. Last fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged states to “help millions more children prevent cavities by starting or expanding programs that offer dental sealants in schools.”
This week, the national Sealant Work Group (SWG) issued a report with 16 recommendations to strengthen the ability of school-based sealant programs (SSPs) to reach more children, especially those most at risk for cavities. The SWG was convened by the Children’s Dental Health Project.
The report serves as a road map to help states and health program managers improve their operations and sustainability. Donna Behrens, a project advisor for the School-Based Health Alliance, was one of 13 people who served on the SWG.
According to the CDC, using school-based programs to provide sealants to roughly 7 million low-income children who lack them could save up to $300 million in dental treatment costs. A 2016 study revealed that an SSP serving 1,000 children prevents the need for 485 dental fillings.