Dental Sealants in Adolescents (Age 12 to 19)

Dental sealants in adolescent’s teeth have increased from the early 1970s until the latest (1999-2004) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In spite of this improvement, significant disparities remain in some population groups.

Table 1 presents sealant prevalence for adolescents aged 12–19 years and for selected subgroups.

Prevalence (Table 1)

  • 38% of adolescents 12 to 19 have dental sealants.
  • Older adolescents, Black and Hispanic adolescents, and those living in families with lower incomes have fewer sealants.


Table 1: Adolescents, Percent with Sealants in Permanent Teeth

Prevalence of sealants in permanent teeth among youths 12–19 years of age, by selected characteristics: United States , National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2004
Characteristic Percent of adolescents with dental sealants
12 to 15 years 41.04
16 to 19 years 34.28
Male 36.43
Female 38.93
Race and Ethnicity  
White, non-Hispanic 43.90
Black, non-Hispanic 25.68
Mexican American 27.23
Poverty Status (Income compared to Federal Poverty Level)


Less than 100% 28.76
100% to 199% 30.64
Greater than 200% 45.45
Overall 37.65


Data Source: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has been an important source of information on oral health and dental care in the United States since the early 1970s. Tables 1 through 4 present the latest NHANES (collected between 1999 and 2004) data regarding dental sealants in adolescents.

Last Reviewed
July 2018