Brushing and flossing are the best ways to help prevent cavities, but it’s not always easy to clean every nook and cranny of a child’s teeth – especially those back teeth which are used to chew (called molars). Molars are rough, uneven and ideal places for leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria to hide.
However, there is a safety net called a Pit & Fissure Sealant (also known as Dental Sealants) to help keep those teeth clean. Sealants are a thin, protective coating that adheres to the chewing surface of the molars. It must be kept in mind that they are no substitute for brushing and flossing. They can keep cavities from forming and may even stop early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity.
How Do Sealants Work?
Sealants could be thought of as ‘raincoats’ for the molars. When the cavity-causing bacteria that live in everyone’s mouth meet leftover food particles, they produce acids that can create holes in teeth. These holes are cavities. After sealant has been applied it keeps those bits of food out and stops bacteria and acid from settling on the teeth— just like a raincoat keeps one clean and dry during a storm.
Who Can Get Sealants?
Children and adults can benefit from sealants. The first molars appear around age 6, and second molars break through around age 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can keep them cavity-free from the start.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Sealants will often last for several years before they need to be reapplied. During the child’s regular dental visit, the Pediatric Dentist will check the condition of the sealant and can reapply them as needed.