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What Are Dental Sealants for Kids?
Thinking your child may need dental sealants? Adult teeth and baby teeth are very different, and although most adults do not need dental sealants, kids can benefit from this protective treatment. Dental sealants are a great way to protect teeth from tooth decay and damage. This treatment is often applied to the back teeth, or to teeth with deep grooves (regardless of position in the mouth).
Those who have deeply grooved teeth are much more susceptible to tooth decay. Brushing these hard-to-reach areas is difficult, and it is not always easy to tell if all food particles are cleared from the surface of teeth. Kids are not known for keeping up with their dental hygiene or paying close attention to brushing each tooth. This is where dental sealants come in.
What are dental sealants?
Even the most advanced toothbrush can still miss some areas in the mouth. For deep grooves and crevices in the teeth, dental sealants are often used to protect vulnerable teeth. The purpose of dental sealants is to keep out food and residue, essentially sealing out plaque and food from making direct contact with the surface of teeth.
Sealants are made from a plastic resin material that is hypoallergenic and bonds directly to the tooth surface. Applied to the teeth by any kid-friendly dentist, dental sealants are painted directly onto the teeth. Sealants can last for years before needing replacement.
Dental sealants are popular treatments for children due to increased susceptibility to tooth decay in younger people. However, adults with deep grooves or depressions in their teeth may benefit from this treatment as well. As long as the resin remains intact, the tooth is protected from all tooth decay and food particles.
The dentist will check on the condition of the sealants at every six-month dental cleaning. For very young children, a checkup is recommended every four months to ensure that development is progressing normally and the teeth are free of dental decay.
Protecting baby teeth
Although children eventually lose their baby teeth, it is important to support the health of these all-important first teeth. The health of baby teeth directly impacts the development of the jaw and adult teeth. If baby teeth are heavily decayed, they risk falling out prematurely. Baby teeth that fall out early can negatively affect the lifelong health and development of adult teeth. If your child is prone to cavities, or if you would like to prevent tooth decay in your child, consider dental sealants.
The bottom line
Often, consistent dental hygiene is insufficient in helping prevent tooth decay. To give your child the best chance at avoiding cavities, dental sealants may be the best option. Keep in mind that dental sealants cannot protect the teeth on their own. Practicing good dental hygiene, such as brushing teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing once daily, eating a balanced diet rich in calcium, limiting sugary snacks and visiting the dentist regularly can help prevent cavities in combination with dental sealants.
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