September 9, 2013
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683

State Announces School-Based Dental Sealant Awards

Seal-A-Smile Program to reach thousands of Wisconsin schoolchildren

MADISON-State health officials announced today that 38 organizations will receive nearly $600,000 in school-based sealant program grants for the upcoming school year to provide dental sealants to low-income children in 59 counties. The grants were made available through the Wisconsin Seal-A-Smile program which is collaboratively administered by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Oral Health Program and Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin.

"Children from families with low incomes are more than twice as likely to have untreated cavities than children in higher income families, and dental sealant programs in schools are a cost-effective way to reach kids at highest risk for developing cavities," said Dr. Jeffrey Chaffin, State Dental Officer. "In doing so, we can help these students focus on learning and succeeding."

The school-based sealant programs are located in schools where at least 35% of students are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals. They will provide oral health education to an estimated 58,000 children, dental screenings to nearly 44,000, and dental sealants to more than 30,000, most of whom will receive four or more sealants.

Dental sealants create a physical barrier against bacteria and food. Along with community water fluoridation, a healthy diet, and brushing with fluoride toothpaste, sealants play a key role in preventing tooth decay, Chaffin said.

The program is funded with state dollars matched by Delta Dental of Wisconsin. Recipients of the school-based sealant program funds for the 2013-14 school year are included in the attached document.

DHS is also one of 21 recipients just awarded a "State Oral Disease Prevention Programs" grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), renewable for up to five years.

The funding provides support for developing program leadership, monitoring oral disease levels and risk factors for oral disease, developing strong partnerships, educating state residents on ways to prevent oral diseases, and developing and evaluating prevention programs.

View information on Wisconsin's Oral Health Program.