School-based dental sealant programs are an evidence-based practice recommended by the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, Centers 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.
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 50% of the students are eligible for the federal Free-and-Reduced Lunch (FRL) Program.
- Students are eligible if they have parental permission.
The OHA School-based Dental Sealant Program services 1st and 2nd graders or 1st to 5th graders in very small 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).
2013-14 Oregon Data
- 88,343 children were in 1st and 2nd grades.
- 467 schools were eligible for school dental sealant programs (50% FRL).
- 363 schools participated in a school dental sealant program (77% of the eligible schools). The benchmark set by the Pew Center on the States is 75% for 2013.
- 104 eligible schools are not yet participating.
2013-14 OHA School-based Dental Sealant Program Data
- 159 schools participated in the state school-based dental sealant program.
- 7 of 159 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%.
- 7,387 children were screened.
- 5,043 children received dental sealants.
- 2,209 children were referred for needed restorative care.
- 16,184 sealants were provided.
2013-14 Local School-based Dental Sealant Programs Data
- 211 eligible schools participated in local school-based sealant programs.
To learn more about participation by county, please download this map of eligible schools in dental sealant programs (pdf).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 971-673-0339. Eligible schools will be served as funding becomes available.
Parent permission forms are mailed to participating schools in late August. If additional forms are needed, please download and copy the language needed.
- Parent permission forms (English, Spanish, Arabic, Hmong, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Somali, Vietnamese)
- Parent fact sheets (English, Spanish, Arabic, Hmong, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Somali, Vietnamese)
- Teacher information sheet (English)
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.