How Sealants Keep Tooth Decay Away!

Well welcome to 2021 and welcome back to my blog where I discuss many things dental health related and some lifestyle details of my life as a registered dental hygienist.

I always get asked what my favorite toothbrush or toothpaste is, or what a certain dental procedure is. I introduce to you my first segment of Wednesday Wisdom. I will pick a dental product, treatment, or topic and give a brief discussion of it.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month.  All month dental health professionals and others will be discussing the benefits of good oral health for children.  In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, here is one way to help prevent cavities from forming on your kids’ teeth.

Sealants

A sealant is a thin dental material that serves as a protective coating on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.

First, I will describe how a cavity is formed. The chewing surfaces of your back teeth have little grooves that can be a reservoir for small food particles.  The bacteria in our mouth thrives on food particles left on our teeth. The bacteria feasts on these particles then produce an acid that if left on the teeth will result in a hole forming in your teeth. This hole is called a cavity or tooth decay. 

When the protective coating is painted onto those grooves in your teeth, the sealant covers the grooves thereby preventing food particles from getting into the grooves inhibiting the ability of the acid to adhere to the teeth. Basically, sealants are like raincoats. They keep food, bacteria, and acid off the chewing surfaces of the teeth.

Sealants are mostly recommended for children because the earlier you get them the better. However, adults can benefit from having sealants placed too. The procedure is quick, easy, and minimally invasive. Basically, your dental healthcare provider will clean and dry your tooth. An acidic gel will be applied to the tooth to make the surface rough, which allows for a bond with the tooth and sealant material to form. The gel is rinsed off and the tooth is dried again. Once the tooth is dry, the sealant material is placed on the grooves of the tooth. A blue light is used to harden the sealant material.

Daily brushing and flossing your teeth at least two times daily are an awesome preventive measure to stop tooth decay.  With the additional protection from sealants, you and your kids will always get kudos for being a member of the no cavity club.

My opinion does not replace the advice of your dental healthcare team.  Speak with your dentist to determine if sealants are the best fit for you!

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