Fifth graders with dental sealants in North Carolina

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Definitions: Percent of fifth grade students with preventive dental sealants.

Data Source: NC Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Oral Health Section. 2012-2013. Approved for public distribution on 10-17-2014.

Footnotes: During 1995-1996, the Division of Public Health, Dental Health Section, staff developed and pilot tested an assessment technique which modified and standardized their dental screenings for kindergarten and fifth grade schoolchildren. The aim of the project was to develop a simple measurement of decayed and filled teeth to be used by public health dental hygienists to give an indication of the level of dental disease within each county. Results of the pilot tests showed the technique to be reliable, valid and practical. This standardization of data collection increased the comparability and accuracy, and therefore the usefulness, of the data at the state and local level for program planning, evaluation and accountability.

Historically, most counties were able to conduct the technique annually. However, due to budget reductions, some areas of the state do not have an adequate number of public health dental hygienists to be able to gather the data every year. Some of the larger counties which have locally funded dental hygienists do not regularly conduct the technique due to the large number of children in their areas and other pressing priorities. Attempts to address these issues continue.

Keep in mind that no matter how well calibrated the dental public health staff are, this is still a screening performed by a large number of people and that a difference of a fraction of a tooth surface does not demonstrate a significant difference between counties.

Last updated March 2018.