How Do Dental Sealants Prevent Cavities?

July 3, 2019 Mitten Kids Dentistry

Pediatric Dentists Grand Rapids, MI Dental SealantsDental plaque and tartar love to hide where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. If your child often gets cavities, our pediatric dentists may recommend dental sealants.

Dental sealants are a clear, plastic coating that we apply onto the chewing surfaces of back teeth. By sealing the chewing surfaces, we’re able to reduce where plaque can accumulate.

Here’s what you need to know about dental sealants.

Seals Chewing Surfaces

No matter how much you try to reinforce teeth brushing, your child may still neglect their back teeth. The good news is that sealing their molars will help reduce their risk of cavities.

Many children (and adults) are guilty of not brushing for at least two minutes. If your child has difficulty doing this, try singing their favorite song to help pass the time. This will also give your child a frame of reference for how long to brush teeth.

Reduces Hiding Places for Plaque

The bacteria in dental plaque love to eat sugar and starch left behind on your child’s teeth. If left untreated, plaque produces acid that erodes tooth enamel and causes cavities.

It may be difficult for your child to reach their back teeth with their toothbrush. This is why we often recommend dental sealants. A tooth sealant covers the fissures and pits on the chewing surface where plaque likes to hide.

Levels the Playing Field

Do any of your family members have poor oral health? If so, you may want to consider dental sealants for your child.

Recent studies suggest a link between genetics and oral health. As such, your child could have inherited traits that increase their risk of cavities. For example, some people have soft tooth enamel that makes them more prone to decay.

Dental sealants cover the chewing surface of your child’s teeth. Combined with good oral hygiene, sealants can help prevent plaque and tartar buildup.

Protects Tooth Enamel

Once your child loses enamel, it’s gone for good. That’s why it’s so important that your child brushes and flosses their teeth every day. Also, keep in mind that dental sealants offer an extra layer of protection for your child’s teeth.

The bacteria that live inside your child’s mouth eat sugar and produce acid. Over time, this acid erodes the enamel and attacks the gums. But dental sealants form a protective layer over the chewing surfaces. This helps to reduce their risk of tooth decay in the long run.

In general, we may recommend sealants as soon as the premolars or permanent molars erupt. That way, the sealants will help protect your child during the “danger zone” for cavities (ages 6 through 14).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for children.

Request an Appointment With Mitten Kids Dentistry

Our pediatric dentists in Grand Rapids and Caledonia are accepting new patients! To request an appointment for your child, call Mitten Kids Dentistry at (616) 942-9840. You may also fill out our online contact form.

This blog post has been updated.

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