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OHA Statewide School-based Dental Sealant Program

School-based dental sealant programs are an evidence-based practice recommended by the Association of State and Territorial Dental DirectorsCenters for Disease Control and Prevention and Healthy People 2020 based on strong evidence of effectiveness in preventing tooth decay among children.

The Oregon Oral Health Coalition (OrOHC), Oral Health Funders Collaborative, and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) are working towards expanding school-based dental sealant programs to serve more children, as outlined as a key recommendation in the Strategic Plan for Oral Health in Oregon: 2014-2020. School-based sealant programs effectively reach children from low-income families who are less likely to receive care at a dental office.

Dental Sealants

A dental sealant is a liquid coating applied to the chewing surfaces of molar teeth for the purpose of preventing tooth decay. Most decay (90%) occurs in the molars, and school-based dental sealant programs can reduce tooth decay by half.


  • A school is eligible if at least 40% of the students are eligible for the federal Free-and-Reduced Lunch (FRL) Program (beginning in the 2015-16 school year).
  • Students are eligible if they have parental permission.

The OHA School-based Dental Sealant Program serves 1st and 2nd graders or 1st to 5th graders in very small elementary schools, as well as 6th and 7th graders in middle schools. The dental team brings portable equipment to the school, screens the participating children, and applies dental sealants when appropriate. The screening takes about one minute per child or 15-20 minutes per class. For sealant placement, each child comes in one at a time for 15-30 minutes. The finished child retrieves the next child, so there is very little disruption of class time.

For more information about the OHA School-based Dental Sealant Program, please download a program brochure (pdf).

2014-15 Oregon Data

  • 90,010 children were in 1st and 2nd grades.
  • 458 schools were eligible for school dental sealant programs (50% FRL).
  • 359 schools participated in a school dental sealant program (78% of the eligible schools). The benchmark set by the Pew Center on the States is 75%.
  • 99 eligible schools were not yet participating.

2014-15 OHA School-based Dental Sealant Program Data

  • 152 schools participated in the state school-based dental sealant program.
  • 8 of 152 schools were no longer eligible for the program, but for consistency, schools that begin the program as eligible remain on the program even when the school's FRL drops below 50%.
  • 6,600 children were screened.
  • 4,721 children received dental sealants.
  • 29% of the children screened were referred for needed restorative care.
  • 15,108 sealants were provided.

2014-15 Local School Dental Sealant Programs Data

  • 215 eligible schools participated in local school-based sealant programs.

To Participate

The program requires a 10' x 14' space for 1 to 11 days, depending on the size of the school. To participate, please contact the Oral Health Program at or call 971-673-0339. Eligible schools will be served as funding becomes available.


Parent permission forms are mailed to participating schools in mid-August. If additional forms are needed, please download and copy the language needed.

The Parent Permission Forms and Parent Fact Sheets are printed double-sided (e.g. English/Spanish, English/Arabic). The parent permission forms are stapled on top of the parent fact sheets distributed to parents. The Teacher Information Sheet is for teachers whose classrooms will be involved.