In our previous blog, we outlined the importance of creating good dental health habits in children because the best way to treat tooth decay is to prevent it from happening in the first place!
And while brushing and flossing are the best ways to help prevent cavities, it’s not always easy for kids to clean every nook and cranny of their teeth – especially molars — the back teeth they use to chew.
Another tool in the decay-fighting toolkit
However, there is another tool to help keep those teeth clean — a sealant, — a thin, protective coating that adheres to the chewing surface of back teeth. While there are no substitutes for brushing and flossing, sealants can keep cavities from forming and may even stop early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity.
Sealants reduce decay
In fact, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. This is especially important when it comes to your child’s dental health. In October 2016, the 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.”
What are sealants?
Think of them as raincoats for your teeth. When cavity-causing bacteria that live in everyone’s mouth meet leftover food particles, they produce acids that can create cavities. Dental sealants are a type of special plastic coating that act as a barrier, protecting cavity-prone areas. They are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth. After a sealant has been applied it keeps those bits of food out and stops bacteria and acid from settling on teeth—just like a raincoat keeps you clean and dry in a storm.
Ask your dental hygienist or dentist about sealants for you or your kids
Talk to Dr. Poz or Dr. Andi to see if you or your children would benefit from sealants. But Remember: Just because you have sealants doesn’t mean you don’t have to brush and clean between your teeth every day. Sealants are added protection against decay!