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Dental sealants (children)

Dental sealant on at least one permanent molar tooth by:


Dental sealants can prevent tooth decay and cavities

A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating applied to the biting surfaces of back teeth to prevent tooth decay and cavities. Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases among children ages 6 to 19 years. 

In 2015, the Minnesota Department of Health Oral Health Program led an open mouth assessment of caries experience and dental sealants in third grade students in Minnesota public schools (see About the Data: Basic Screening Survey (third grade)).


Dental sealant rates higher in public schools with low free and reduced price lunch eligibility (higher income households) 

Minnesota third grade public school students with at least one dental sealant on a permanent molar tooth by free and reduced price lunch eligibility, 2015

Free and reduced price lunch (FRPL) eligibility subcategories Percent third grade public school students with at least one dental sealant on a permanent molar tooth 95% Confidence Interval
Low (25.0% or less FRPL) - higher income households 68.0% 62.8 to 73.2
Mid-low (25.1 to 50% FRPL) 57.5% 51.5 to 63.5
Mid-high (50.1 to 75% FRPL) 57.7% 49.6 to 65.8
High (more than 75% FRPL) - lower income households 44.9% 33.0 to 56.8

Free and reduced price lunch eligibility is a common alternative measure for the percentage of children within public schools from lower income households. Bars represent the percentage of unduplicated third graders within free and reduced price lunch eligibility subcategories.

National Center for Education Statistics definition (FRPL eligibility subcategories)

  • Low: 25.0 percent or less of students are FRPL eligible.
  • Mid-low: 25.1 to 50.0 percent of students are FRPL eligible.
  • Mid-high: 50.1 to 75.0 percent of students are FRPL eligible.
  • High: More than 75.0 percent of students are FRPL eligible.     

Sample size = 3,199 third grade students within a stratified probability sample of 50 public schools. See About the Data: Basic Screening Survey (third grade) for more information.

Free and reduced price lunch eligibility is a common alternative measure for the percentage of children within public schools from lower income households.

  • 68 percent of third grade students in public schools with low free and reduced price lunch eligibility have at least one dental sealant on a permanent molar tooth.
  • 45 percent of third grade students in public schools with high free and reduced price lunch eligibility have at least one dental sealant on a permanent molar tooth.

In 2015, third graders enrolled in public schools with low free and reduced price lunch eligibility (higher income households) were 1.5 times more likely to have dental sealants compared with third graders in public schools with high free and reduced price lunch eligibility (lower income households).


More than half of Minnesota third graders have dental sealants

The rate of dental sealants on at least one permanent molar tooth in Minnesota was nearly 60 percent in 2015 or 6 out of every 10 third graders. The United States median (1998 to 2015) was 44 percent or 4 out of every 10 third graders.

6 out of every 10
Minnesota third graders (59.6%)

Have at least one dental sealant
2015


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