Dental Sealants Can Improve Students’ Oral Health

Young female child sitting on dental chair and showing her healthy teeth.

Good oral health keeps students in school and ready to learn.

Learn how a school dental sealant program can help your students keep a healthy smile.

Cavities (tooth decay) are the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States.1 Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that lead to problems eating, speaking, playing, and learning. These problems can affect a child’s quality of life, performance at school, and success later in life.

The good news is cavities are preventable and schools can help. Dental sealants protect the chewing surfaces of the back teeth by covering them with a protective shield that can prevent cavities for many years. School sealant programs are an effective way to reach millions of children with this intervention, helping them stay healthy and ready to learn.

Schools can:

  • Consider starting a dental sealant program if they don’t already have one. These guidelines, recommendations, and resources can help.
  • Communicate with families about the importance of good oral hygiene and how participation in the school’s dental sealant program can help prevent cavities by protecting the chewing surfaces.
  • Inform families of the school health services available, including care coordination for students with chronic health conditions, like cavities. School sealant programs can also develop referral networks with dental practitioners in the community.
  • Promote healthy eating and drinking water while at school. Teachers, school staff, out-of-school time program leaders, and administrators can practice healthy eating to reinforce this behavior with students. Staff can also support consistent messages in schools about the importance of good nutrition.
  • Ensure playgrounds and other physical activity facilities are safe to reduce students’ risks of oral trauma, and be prepared for any dental emergencies.

Learn more about ways to increase sealant use through school programs. Get information on what CDC is doing to improve the oral health of students through school dental sealant programs. Visit the BAM Teachers Portal for information to share with parents and caregivers on what they can do to support their child’s oral health.

More information


  1. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). 2020. GBD Compare Data Visualization. Seattle, WA: IHME, University of Washington.