Awareness Among US Adults of Dental Sealants for Caries Prevention
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Awareness Among US Adults of Dental Sealants for Caries Prevention

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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
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    Introduction Dental sealants applied in childhood can help prevent caries, but knowledge of the availability of sealants and their function is not widespread. We assessed knowledge of dental sealants among US adults and adult parents of children younger than 18 and the differences in knowledge among demographic and socioeconomic groups. Methods We used data on 3,550 respondents to the 2015 FallStyles B survey of noninstitutionalized US adults aged 18 or older. Authors constructed estimates by using weights provided to reflect the distribution of the US population. Knowledge of dental sealants was assessed by sex, age, race/ethnicity, education, household income, and parental status. Multivariate analysis was conducted by using a main effects logistic regression model. Results Overall, 46.3% of adults and 55.1% of parents of children younger than 18 had knowledge of dental sealants. Sealant knowledge was highest among parents, women, respondents aged 45 to 59, and respondents with incomes greater than 200% of the federal poverty level and more than a high school education. Non-Hispanic blacks had less than half the odds of non-Hispanic whites of having knowledge of sealants (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.4), and nonparents had half the odds as parents (OR = 0.5) of knowing. The strongest predictors of parental sealant knowledge were race/ethnicity, sex, and income. Conclusion Disparities in sealant knowledge correspond to disparities in sealant prevalence. Increasing knowledge among low-income and racial/ethnic minority parents could reduce disparities in sealant prevalence and untreated caries.
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