Preventing tooth decay can become even easier. You may already be aware that
daily brushing and flossing are the most important weapons against the formation
of plaque, the primary cause of cavities. In addition to your regular routine of
brushing and flossing, your dentist can apply a coat of plastic material –
called a sealant – on the top or biting surfaces of your back teeth. This
plastic coating creates a barrier on your teeth and seals out the decay-causing
bacteria that live in plaque.
What is plaque and why does it cause
The food and liquids you eat and drink combine with
bacteria to produce a sticky film called plaque. Plaque attaches on and in
between teeth, where it starts to eat away at the tooth enamel. If plaque is not
removed regularly by brushing and flossing your teeth, it can produce acids that
will create pits or holes (cavities) in the tooth. This is tooth decay.
How can sealants help prevent cavities?
a thin plastic coating to your teeth makes it harder for the plaque to stick to
the tiny groves on the biting surfaces of the back teeth - protecting the tooth
surface and reducing the risk of forming cavities.
Is it difficult to apply sealants?
placement is quick, simple and painless. Most often, sealants will last for
several years. At regular check-up visits, your CDA member dentist or dental
hygienist will check to see that sealants are still in place.
Who should get sealants?
Sealants are most
effective in reducing cavities in children with newly formed permanent teeth. In
fact, all children should have their molars (back teeth) evaluated for sealants
soon after they erupt. For most children, this occurs approximately at ages 6
Sealants can also be useful in cutting down formation of decay in adult
teeth, as well. An application of sealants is a preventative measure to keep
teeth healthy. It is an effective way to reduce the need for fillings and more
expensive treatments that may be required to repair the damage from cavities, so
sealants can save you money.
Ask your CDA member dentist whether sealants would be an appropriate
treatment for you and your children to help prevent tooth decay.