The Skinny on Sealants
Cavities are not fun for any of us, but they can be especially discomforting for your child. Luckily, there is a great way to prevent cavities before the first “ouchie” out of your little one. Of course, brushing their teeth and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of their teeth, but toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque.
Dental sealants act as an excellent barrier to prevent cavities, and protect vulnerable areas of the tooth by “sealing out” plaque and food. The sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. They are a plastic material usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, both premolars and molars, where decay occurs most often. Acting as a barrier, sealants protect the enamel from plaque and acids.
As long as the sealant remains intact, the surface of the tooth will be protected from decay. They hold up well under the force of normal chewing, and may last several years before a reapplication is necessary. During your child’s regular dental visits, the dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply as needed.
The chances of developing a pit and fissure decay begins early in life, so teenagers and younger children are clear candidates for sealants.
Keep in mind these keys to maintaining a healthy mouth:
- brushing twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste
- cleaning between the teeth daily with floss or another interdental cleaner
- eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks
- visiting your dentist regularly
- no gummies!
If you have any questions about sealants, including the process and how they’ll fight tooth decay, reach out to us at Sunshine Smiles! Put that extra power behind your prevention program.