After eating, if your children do not properly clean their teeth, bacteria eats sugar and starch from food and uses it as a source of energy. The bacteria convert the sugar and starch left on their teeth into harmful acids that attack tooth enamel and contribute to cavities.
Unfortunately, some teeth in your child’s mouth are harder to clean than others. When a tooth is developing, deep grooves called “fissures” form in the biting surfaces of the back teeth. Two or more intersecting fissures are known as a “pit”. Daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing can help to remove food particles and plaque that gets stuck in these areas, but because toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the pits, these back teeth become more vulnerable to cavities.
Dental sealants help to protect these susceptible teeth by “sealing out” food and plaque. They are made with a resin material that is applied to the pits and fissures of the back teeth. Decay will not start under a sealant because the decay causing bacteria are deprived of the food they need to grow and survive.
Kids are much more susceptible to tooth decay than adults. If possible, sealants should be applied to children before decay has a chance to begin.
Application of dental sealants is easy, time-effective, and painless. As long as the sealant remains intact, the sealed tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well for several years under the force of normal eating and chewing. When you come in for your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of your sealants and reapply them as needed.
For more information about dental sealants for you or your child’s teeth, talk to your dental care provider. Protecting those back teeth from the hungry bacteria that cause cavities is well worth it!