Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Compared with their parents, many Americans now enjoy markedly
better oral health. However, certain segments of the population
(e.g., those who have low incomes, are members of racial or ethnic
minority groups, or are older) have severe dental decay, much of
which remains untreated. Healthy People 2010 objectives seek
to eliminate these disparities, so that all Americans receive the
benefits of good oral health. Community-based programs, such as
community water fluoridation and school-based dental sealant
programs, are cost-effective ways to achieve this goal. For example,
if half of the children at high risk for tooth decay participated in
school sealant programs, half of the caries that these children
otherwise would develop would be prevented.
State Programs in Action: Ohio
School-based sealant programs in Ohio began in 1984, with a single
demonstration program in one city. By 2000, 34 of Ohio’s 88 counties
had programs. These programs target children who are at high risk
for tooth decay and least likely to receive dental care.
the program has expanded, the statewide percentage of 8-year-olds
who have dental sealants has increased steadily, from 11% in
1987–1988, to 30% in 1998–1999, and most recently to 43% in 2007.
Although this percentage still falls short of the Healthy People
2010 objective of 50% of the state’s 8-year-olds having
sealants, children from all demographic groups in schools with
sealant programs have achieved or exceeded the objective.
Ohio program has shown that school-based programs could potentially
reduce or eliminate racial and economic
disparities by reaching children at high risk for tooth decay.
For more information and references supporting these facts, please