Nearly half of children aged 6–11 years (42%) and adolescents aged 12–19 years (48%) had dental sealants on permanent teeth, reflecting more than a 10 percentage point increase since 1999–2004. The largest increases—17 percentage points or more—were found among those who were Mexican American, near-poor, and poor.
The prevalence of sealants increased overall, from 31% during 1999–2004 to 42% during 2011–2016. Increases occurred across all sociodemographic characteristics, except for not- poor children (Table 19). Increases ranged from 7 percentage points among non-Hispanic white children to 20 percentage points among Mexican American children. Sealant prevalence increased by 17 percentage points among poor and near-poor combined children, from 22% during 1999–2004 to 39% during 2011–2016. During 2011–2016, prevalence was higher among older children aged 9–11 years (51%) compared to younger children aged 6–8 years (32%), non-Hispanic white children (44%) compared to non-Hispanic black children (32%), and not-poor children (45%) compared to poor children (38%).
On average, children aged 6–11 years with at least one sealed tooth had 3.6 teeth sealed—an increase of 0.2 teeth sealed since 1999–2004 (Table 20). The mean number of sealed teeth increased by 0.5 teeth among Mexican American and poor children and by 0.4 teeth among older and non-Hispanic black children. During 2011–2016, older children aged 9–11 years had more teeth sealed than younger children aged 6–8 years.
First permanent molars were the most likely teeth to be sealed. The mean number of sealed teeth was 3.3 for first permanent molars, 0.3 for premolars, and 0.5 for second molars (Table 21). Since 1999–2004, the mean number of first molars sealed increased by 0.4 teeth among poor children and by 0.3 teeth among Mexican American children. The mean number of first and second molars sealed increased by 0.2 and 0.5, respectively, among older children aged 9–11 years.
Sealant prevalence among adolescents aged 12–19 years increased from 38% during 1999–2004 to 48% during 2011–2016 (Table 22). Increases were observed across all sociodemographic characteristics except not-poor adolescents. Increases ranged from 9 percentage points among non- Hispanic white adolescents (44% vs. 53%) to 18 percentage points among Mexican American (27% vs. 45%) and near-poor (31% vs. 48%) adolescents. During 2011–2016, prevalence was higher among younger adolescents aged 12–15 years (52%) than older adolescents aged 16–19 years (45%), non-Hispanic white children (53%) than non-Hispanic black (37%) and Mexican American (45%) children, and not-poor (51%) than poor (43%) children.
On average, among adolescents with sealants, the mean number of sealed teeth increased from 5 teeth during 1999– 2004 to 6 teeth during 2011–2016 (Table 23). Increases ranged from 0.8 among female and not-poor adolescents to 1.7 teeth among non-Hispanic black adolescents. During 2011–2016, no differences were detected by sociodemographic characteristics.
First permanent molars were most likely to be sealed, with almost 3 teeth sealed on average, followed by second permanent molars with 2 teeth sealed on average, and premolars with 1 tooth sealed on average (Table 24). Overall, since 1999–2004, the mean number of first and second molars and premolars sealed increased by 0.2, 0.5, and 0.3 teeth, respectively. Increases in the mean number of sealed first molars were observed among all sociodemographic groups except poor and near-poor children. The largest increase was first molars among non-Hispanic black children. Increases in the mean number of sealed second permanent molars were observed among all sociodemographic groups, with larger increases among non-Hispanic black adolescents (1 tooth), poor adolescents (0.7 teeth), and Mexican American and male (0.6 teeth each) adolescents.