One of the most common chronic diseases in children is tooth decay. Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that can lead to eating, speaking, and learning difficulties. Kids who have bad oral health frequently miss school and get lower grades than kids who do not.
The best ways to help avoid cavities are brushing and flossing, but cleaning every nook and cranny of your child’s teeth, particularly those at the back, is not always easy. Hence dentists recommend dental sealants to provide a safety net to help prevent cavities. Here are five facts about dental sealants:
1. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied on the chewing surface of permanent back teeth.
It provides an additional protective layer for the enamel of the teeth. Take the example of how, when it rains, a raincoat prevents you from getting wet. For the surfaces of your teeth, sealants do the same, battling against plaque settling in the narrow grooves on back teeth.
2. Sealants have been shown to decrease the risk of decay in molars by almost 80 percent.
Children of school age with no sealants have about three times more cavities than children with sealants. The need for costly and painful procedures like dental fillings or crowns in the future can be avoided by applying sealants.
3. For best outcomes, dental sealants are applied as soon as the permanent teeth erupt.
Around age 6, the first molars emerge, and around age 12, the second molars erupt. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through will keep them cavity-free from the beginning which in the long run helps to save time and money.
4. Application of dental sealant is a simple and painless process
There is no drilling involved and takes only a few minutes to complete the procedure. After cleaning the tooth, the sealant is painted onto the tooth and hardened using a special blue light.
5. Sealants can last anywhere between 5 to 10 years
Dental sealants wear down with time but can last anywhere from five to ten years, depending on the material used. They do, however, need to be periodically reviewed for any signs of chipping or wear (at least on an annual basis).
You probably know how difficult it is to get kids to brush and floss properly if you are a parent. Additionally, young children often lack the motor skills needed to take care of their teeth properly. Dental sealants have proven to be an effective way for children to keep the cavities at bay.