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Dental Sealants

A dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating that is painted on the biting surface of a back tooth to prevent tooth decay. Sealants block food and decay-causing germs from going into the narrow grooves of the teeth where decay is most likely to occur. Dental sealants prevent the most common type of tooth decay seen in school-aged children today.


sealed teeth

The tooth on the left has a dental sealant. The tooth on the right
  does not have a dental sealant. Notice its dark pits and grooves.
 This is sometimes a sign of tooth decay.


The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recently published an update to the 2008 report on the clinical use of dental sealants.

Recent studies show that only 50 percent of third grade schoolchildren in Ohio have one or more sealants on their permanent (adult) teeth. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) promotes the use of sealants through grant funds that support school-based dental sealant programs and by sharing the most current guidelines on the use of sealants.

Click on Ohio’s School-based Sealant Program to learn more about the grant funds that are provided to local schools.

Click on Resources for School-based Sealant Programs to see a list of guidelines, recommendations and other references about school-based sealant programs, including the ODH School-based Dental Sealant Program Manual.


Page Updated: 09/29/2016
Last Reviewed: 02/01/2018