Proper oral hygiene such as regular brushing and flossing are the first steps to keep our teeth clean and help prevent cavities. But in reality, there are areas in our teeth that can be hard for toothbrushes to reach and for flosses to thoroughly clean. This is especially true for our kids’ back teeth which they primarily use to chew food, the molars. Molars are uneven with natural pits and grooves, making them the best spot for leftover food particles to gather and cavity-causing bacteria to grow. The good news is that there is another way to keep your child’s teeth clean and protected from cavities – dental sealants!
What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are the thin, protective coating usually applied in the surfaces of the back teeth. They are used to “seal” out food and plaque that cause bacteria in these hard to reach areas of the mouth. Dental sealants are safe, effective, and can be used to protect both permanent and baby teeth.
Dental sealants can keep cavities from developing and may even help to stop early stages of decay to become a full-blown cavity. Actually, dental sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. (American Dental Association) Additionally, in October 2016, the USA’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report on the importance of sealants for school-aged children. According to the CDC, “school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.”
How are dental sealants applied?
Dental sealants are painless and easy to apply. In your next pediatric dentist visit, the dentist can do this simple treatment for your child. First, the particular teeth or molars that will be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and dried. Then, a gel-like dental solution is put on the surfaces to roughen them up. This will help the dental sealants to fully bond on your child’s teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried once more. The next step is for the dental sealant to be painted directly onto the teeth’s enamel. This dental plastic resin hardens and dries onto the surface of the back teeth. More often than not, a curing blue light is used to help the dental sealant fully harden onto the teeth.
For as long as the dental sealants remain intact, your child’s teeth can be protected from decay for several years and withstand normal wear from chewing food. The application of dental sealants, together with the proper dental care routine and a healthy diet, will help maintain your child’s overall dental health.
If you want to know if dental sealants are a good option for your child, please visit us at Kidsmile. You can also watch this video for more information.
Sealants, Mouth Healthy by American Dental Association (https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/sealants)
The Pros and Cons of Dental Sealants, Dental Health Society (https://dentalhealthsociety.com/sealants/the-pros-and-cons-of-dental-sealants/)
Dental Sealants for Children, American Academy of Pediatrics (https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/oral-health/Pages/Dental-Sealants-for-Children.aspx)
The Benefits of Dental Sealants for Children, Colgate (https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/procedures/sealants/the-benefits-of-dental-sealants-for-children-1113)
Dental Health: Sealants, WebMD (https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-sealants)