What Are Dental Sealants and Why Should My Child Get Them?

You may have taken your young child to the dentist office where the dentist suggests your son or daughter get sealants. Sealants are great ways to protect your child’s teeth, in addition to daily, proper oral hygiene.

Dental sealants are usually recommended for young children who are in the early stages of learning to properly brush their teeth. They can, however, be placed on adult’s teeth. Seniors who have arthritis and other issues that keep them from properly brushing and flossing their teeth can also benefit from sealants.

Brushing their teeth can be challenging for small children. Comfortably gripping the toothbrush, learning the right toothbrush motions and resisting the urge to swallow the toothpaste can make teeth brushing very difficult. As a result, children can get frustrated and not brush as well as they should.

Sealants won’t make teeth brushing fun, though it is important for your child to enjoy brushing his or her teeth, but they can provide a safety buffer to make up for their inadequate, less-than-ideal teeth cleaning.

When children are first learning to brush their teeth, there are many areas where they may miss, such as brushing the back molars or the backside of their front teeth. When those hard to reach places aren’t cleaned, the trapped food particles can breakdown and form cavity-causing plaque.

Sealants help protect a child’s teeth by covering the teeth with a thin, plastic covering. Sealants can’t be felt and their transparent nature makes them unnoticeable. Usually, sealants are placed over the molars as those teeth get a lot of chewing action and they are hard to reach when brushing and flossing.

Sealants are most effective when they are placed over the molars shortly after they erupt, or come up from the gumline, which is typically at ages 6 and 12. The process of placing sealants is quick, easy and pain-free.

Sealants are often made from clear plastic that fits snuggly around individual teeth, making them virtually unnoticeable to the child and others.

Why Sealants?

As mentioned previously, dental sealants block out cavity-causing debris, germs and bacteria. While your child should learn daily, proper oral hygiene, sealants help protect their teeth from decay by complimenting their established teeth cleaning routine.

Cavities are one of the most widespread and preventable childhood diseases. The over-indulgence of unhealthy, sugary snacks as well as inadequate oral hygiene are the two major causes.

Sealants prevent food particles, especially sugar, from getting embedded onto the surface and crevices of teeth. With the teeth (mainly molars) being protected from cavity-causing plaque and food debris build-up, your child will have a significantly lower chance of tooth decay.

Tooth decay┬áin children is often overlooked. It isn’t uncommon for the health of a child’s primary (or baby) teeth to be neglected. Many parents think that the baby teeth are unimportant because they will all eventually fall out. However, cavities in the baby teeth can filter down into the up-and-coming permanent adult teeth. Children who start off with cavities risk other oral health issues such as crooked or misshapen teeth and misaligned bites. The psychological block a child may develop from early cavities may make him or her apathetic towards proper, daily oral hygiene and he or she may even dislike and resist properly caring for their teeth and gums later in life.

Sealants not only help protect children’s teeth from cavities, but it also gives them added self-confidence and has a greater joy of properly caring for their oral health.

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