County Public
Health Contacts
Find Us on Facebook

Follow IDPH on Twitter
Child receiving dental sealants

School-Based Dental Sealant Program

School-based dental sealant programs are an important and effective public health approach in promoting the oral health of children and adolescents. Eighty to ninety percent of dental decay in children ages 5 - 17 occurs in the pits and fissures of teeth, mostly on the chewing surfaces. Placing dental sealants on molar teeth significantly lowers the probability that decay in those teeth will occur.

The cost of preventing tooth decay by placing dental sealants in children is much less than the cost of treating tooth decay, and the savings realized over a lifetime can be substantial. If untreated decay progresses, it may be necessary to perform root canals and other extensive and expensive procedures. According to the Surgeon General Report, there is strong evidence supporting dental sealants and community sealant programs for the prevention of dental decay, particularly for high-risk children.

The Iowa Department of Public Health funds six school-based sealant programs. These programs are administered by local Title V child health agencies and target schools with a minimum of 40 percent free and reduced lunch rates.

School-based sealant programs improve communication between parents and oral health professionals, helping parents make informed decisions about the benefits dental sealants provide. In addition, these programs help families who lack insurance or who don't have access to preventive services due to transportation or other barriers to care. Most importantly, the coordination of these programs has also been linked to helping families establish dental homes.

School-Based Dental Sealant Program Manual

The School-Based Dental Sealant Program Manual was created to provide all school-based dental sealant programs with standardized information consistent with recent research and science. This manual clearly states Iowa sealant program expectations and standards.

FFY 2015 Programs

Contractor and Counties with Participating Schools

Black Hawk County Health Department

  • Black Hawk and Buchanan Counties

Crawford County Home Health Hospice & Public Health

  • Cass and Crawford Counties


  • Mills and Pottawattamie Counties

Hawkeye Area Community Action Program

  • Benton, Jones and Linn Counties

Johnson County Public Health

  • Iowa and Johnson Counties

Lee County Health Department

  • Davis, Des Moines, Jefferson, Lee and Van Buren Counties

Marion County Public Health

  • Appanoose, Lucas, Marion, Monroe and Wayne Counties


  • Buena Vista, Clay, O’Brien and Osceola Counties
  • Adams, Adair, Decatur, Ringgold and Union Counties

Mid-Iowa Community Action, Inc.

  • Boone, Hardin, Marshall, Story and Tama Counties

Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc.

  • Cherokee, Ida, Lyon, Plymouth and Sioux Counties

New Opportunities, Inc.

  • Audubon, Carroll, Guthrie and Sac Counties

North Iowa Community Action Organization

  • Butler, Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Franklin, Hancock, Kossuth, Winnebago and Worth Counties

Taylor County Public Health

  • Montgomery, Page and Taylor Counties

Trinity Muscatine Public Health

  • Cedar, Louisa and Muscatine Counties

Visiting Nurse Services

  • Jasper, Mahaska and Poweshiek Counties

Warren County Health Services

  • Clarke and Warren Counties

Webster County Public Health

  • Calhoun, Emmet, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Webster and Wright Counties