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ADA Comment on Pew Center on the States Dental Sealants Report

January 08, 2013

Contact Information:
Rob Raible: Telephone: 202.789.5166 Email:

The report "Falling Short: Most States Lag on Dental Sealants," released today by the Pew Center on the States, highlights the degree to which a significant number of states are lagging in providing this proven decay-fighting measure to children, especially in those underserved populations.

For years the ADA has stressed the efficacy of sealants and has urged health officials to expand programs using this cost-effective preventive tool. State dental societies have been instrumental in successfully advocating for such programs. Schools are an obvious place to provide sealants and other preventive services to those children at greatest risk for dental disease. Studies have shown that school-based sealant programs reduce the incidence of dental decay by 60 percent.

Nearly all dental disease can be prevented. Simple measures such as brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily and eating a balanced diet can prevent a tremendous amount of tooth decay. Professional dental examinations are also important to diagnose and treat dental disease, yet too many Americans continue to face economic, geographic, educational or cultural barriers that impede their access to regular dental care. Used appropriately, sealants are a proven and relatively simple way to prevent dental disease and can be employed more broadly in the context of a public oral health system geared toward oral health education, disease prevention and delivering care to those who most need it.

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 163,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website