Dental sealants can be an excellent addition to brushing and flossing when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy and cavity-free. Dental sealants are a layer of plastic-like material that’s applied over your teeth, typically teeth that are difficult to clean properly, such as the molars in the back of your mouth. These sealants are best applied in childhood, but can work for preventing cavities in adults, too! How can dental sealants help prevent tooth decay and protect your teeth?
Keep Out Food and Bacteria
Dental sealants are applied over your teeth to effectively “seal” out food and bacteria. Particularly on the back molars, food and bacteria get trapped within the grooves of our teeth. Some of these grooves are deep and can’t be properly cleaned with just brushing and flossing. When you have dental sealants, your tooth is essentially protected with the clear and invisible sealant barrier from food and bacteria that could lead to tooth decay such as cavities!
The best time to apply dental sealants is when your molars are relatively new in your mouth and haven’t yet had the chance to be affected by tooth decay—this would be between the ages of 6 and 12 when the first and second molars come in. Even if you haven’t had dental sealants as a child, you can still get them as an adult! If your mouth is healthy, you likely qualify for dental sealants. The procedure is simple and your teeth can benefit from dental sealants for years to come!
Protect Existing Teeth
You’re still a candidate for dental sealants even if some of your molars already have cavities. This is because the sealants can prevent any more damage from happening to your teeth. If you have a small cavity or existing decay, your dentist will fix the problem before sealing your tooth with the dental sealant material. Dental sealants can help protect your teeth for up to 10 years! They’re great for people who experience frequent cavities and have a higher risk for tooth decay than most people.
Best Practices with Dental Sealants
Dental sealants are pretty sturdy, but there are a few things you can do to protect your teeth and extend the life of your dental sealants. These healthy habits include:
Regular brushing and flossing. That’s right, sealants don’t mean you can just stop taking care of your teeth! Dental sealants are meant to be supplemental protection rather than a replacement for regular care.
Use your teeth properly. Avoid chewing on things like ice or trying to open packaging with your teeth. This can not only damage your teeth, but your dental sealants as well!
Get regular checkups. Your dentist can assess your dental sealants at each checkup to see how they’re holding up and whether or not you need more sealant material to help protect your teeth.
Dental sealants can be a great choice for kids as well as adults who are more prone to cavities and have trouble keeping tooth decay away. You can help supplement brushing and flossing and protect your teeth by asking your dentist about dental sealants!