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How Do Dental Sealants Help A Child’s Oral Health?

How Do Dental Sealants Help A Child’s Oral Health?

Jan 01, 2021

Children love sugar. Fortunately for them, there is a lot of that to go round. They take full advantage of that. It is not as fortunate that sugar is responsible for the most common chronic childhood disease, tooth decay. This causes problems for children who miss out on school, sleep, eating, and other childhood activities. It is not any better for a parent either because tooth decay does not just happen. It starts with the development of a plaque. In no time, plaque builds up and erodes the outer layer of your teeth. Then, tooth decay occurs. The result is the development of a cavity or dental caries. Regular brushing, flossing, and check-ups play a role in preventing a cavity but dental sealants do it best.

A dental sealant is a protective coating placed on the chewing surfaces of your child’s permanent back teeth, or molars. It is first applied as a liquid. This is so that the plastic can fit into the nooks and crannies of the teeth. Within minutes, the plastic hardens to form the shield that keeps the bacteria out. The plastic coatings are not toxic to health in any way. They are not noticeable too. On top of all these, they protect a child’s teeth against the slow erosion caused by bacteria and acids. In this article, we will discuss all that dental sealants entail.

When Can A Child Get A Dental Sealant?

A child can get a dental sealant as soon as their first permanent molars come in. This is between the ages of 5 and 7. The second set is applied when they get their second set of permanent back teeth, between ages 11 and 14. The CDC says that a dental sealant will prevent 80 percent of cavities for two years after application. This drops down to 50 percent at nine years. A well-maintained dental sealant can last between 5-10 years. It is advised that kids use a soft toothbrush. They should also avoid acidic foods and beverages like soda and fruit juice. You can always visit an Aurora dentist today for a dental sealant to protect your child’s oral health.

You should also know that dental sealants are placed for older patients that are interested in having the extra protection. They are only recommended for children because cavities occur more in them because of poor oral hygiene and diet.

What Are The Long-Term Benefits Of Getting A Sealant?

A sealant can set a child up for a lifetime of good oral health. The bacteria in our mouths feed off sugar leaving off bad acids that can affect our enamel. The plastic coatings interfere with the contact between these acids and our enamel. It does not stop here. Sealants help to make sure that the teeth stay intact. With drilling, filling, restoration, or extraction, a tooth’s natural structure is tampered with. Sealants prevent that.

Children are terrible at oral hygiene. However, there are places where even an adult cannot reach with a toothbrush. Sealants fill these deep grooves, eliminating the need to worry. For adults, exposure to decay increases with age. The saliva loses some of its natural composition with certain drugs over time, thereby decreasing its protective quality. You can see why adults are advised to get sealants if they are interested.

Are There Any Risks Attached?

Yes, there are. You can be sure of one thing, the benefits considerably outweigh the risk. Sealants can fall out, chip, or wear away and this will need re-application. Excess coatings will be drilled down or removed with a scaler. A child’s bite can feel abnormal after application due to the coatings on the tooth. This will go away with time. 

There is another concern about synthetic estrogens such as bisphenol A (BPA) in sealant material. However, research has shown that salivary BPA levels from exposure to BPA peak three hours after a procedure. After this, it begins its decline and drops back to baseline within 24 hours. It is also a fact that dental materials used to manage tooth decay contain more chemicals than BPA. 

The process is relatively affordable and many dental/health insurance plans cover it. An Aurora dentist can apply a dental sealant today at little or no out-of-pocket cost. 

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