Dental Sealants in Adolescents (Ages 12 to 19)

Dental sealants in adolescent’s teeth have increased from the early 1970s until the latest (2011–2016) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In spite of this improvement, disparities remain in some population groups.

Table 1 presents sealant prevalence for adolescents ages 12–19 years and for selected subgroups for the last two cycles of the NHANES oral health examination.


  • 48.1% of adolescents 12 to 19 years 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 ages 12–19 years, by selected characteristics: United States, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2004 and 2011–2016.
Characteristic Percent of Adolescents with Dental Sealants
Percent of Adolescents with Dental Sealants
12 to 15 years 41.0 51.7
16 to 19 years 34.3 44.5
Male 36.4 46.5
Female 38.9 49.1
Race and Ethnicity
White, non-Hispanic 44.3 53.2
Black, non-Hispanic 25.1 37.2
Mexican American 27.2 45.0
Poverty Status (Income compared to Federal Poverty Level)
Less than 100% 28.8 42.7
100% to 199% 30.6 48.4
Greater than 200% 45.4 51.1
Overall 37.6 48.1


Data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Oral Health Surveillance Report: Trends in Dental Caries and Sealants, Tooth Retention, and Edentulism, United States, 1999–2004 to 2011–2016. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services; 2019.

Last Reviewed
June 2022