Dental Sealant Utilization Among Rural and Urban Children

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2008
Project completed:
December 2012
Statement of the problem: Dental sealants are an effective method for reducing caries, especially in vulnerable, underserved children. At present, only about a third of children across the US have sealants; rural disparities have not yet been studied.

Project goals: We will develop estimates for sealant use among children aged 3 -14, by race/ethnicity, across urban and rural children and, within rural children, for those living in micropolitan, adjacent rural, and small remote rural counties (defined below). We will also identify ecological characteristics, such as provider availability and state regulation of dental assistants, associated with sealant use.

Methods: We will conduct a cross sectional study using two nationally representative secondary data sets, the 2004 Panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and the 2001-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The SIPP contains parentally-reported sealant use across a large sample of children (n=12,152), while the NHANES contains professional examination data for a smaller group of children (n=4,999).

Anticipated publications or products. A Research Product Portfolio, consisting of a Technical Report, Executive Summary, Key Facts Sheet, and postcard, will be provided to the Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP). Scientific presentations and papers will be developed for venues such as the American Public Health Association and the Journal of Public Health Dentistry.


  • Dental Sealant Utilization Among Rural and Urban Children
    Rural and Minority Health Research Center
    Date: 03/2013
    This report examines the proportion of rural children who have received dental sealants applied to the surface of their teeth to prevent or delay the development of dental decay.