February is Children’s Dental Health month and the Florida Department of Health’s Sealing Sunny Smiles Across Florida initiative is working to ensure optimal oral health for all Floridians. Sunny Smiles Across Florida is part of a comprehensive statewide Oral Health Program to promote evidenced-based prevention strategies like dental sealants. In the past five years, the number of county health departments providing School-Based Sealant Programs has increased from 27 to 54.
Dental sealants are the most effective way of preventing cavities in permanent molars, where more than 80% of decay occurs in the permanent teeth of children. The deep grooves and fissures of the molars allow decay to occur deep within the tooth structure where fluoride is less effective. Thin plastic coatings that are applied to the tooth surface stop this decay from happening.
Dental sealants performed by the department were analyzed for cost effectiveness by comparing the cost of receiving one dental sealant to the cost of one dental filling on an unsealed tooth. Every $1 Florida invests in dental sealants saves $1.88 in costs related to treating decaying teeth. Currently, the department’s School-Based Sealant Programs are serving more than 46,000 children.
For more information about the School-Based Sealant Program, please click here.
About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.