While brushing and flossing can go a long way in preventing cavities, reaching those back teeth can sometimes be difficult.
That’s why Dr. John Waters and Dr. Kara Flynn of The Waters Dental Group recommend sealants, which are extremely effective in preventing decay in the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.
How do sealants work? A thin, protective coating fills in the little ridges on the chewing part of the teeth to protect and seal the tooth from food and plaque.
Research has shown that almost everybody has a 95 percent chance of eventually experiencing cavities in the pits and grooves of their teeth. Sealants act as a barrier to prevent bacteria and food from collecting and sitting on those grooves and pits.
The dental treatment is best suited for permanent first molars, which erupt around the age of 6, and second molars, which erupt around the age of 12. Sealants are most effective when applied as soon as the tooth has fully come in. Because of this, children derive the greatest benefit from sealants because of the newness of their teeth.
Sealants normally last about five years and should always be examined at the child’s regular checkup.
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, once applied, sealants protect against 80 percent of cavities for two years and continue to protect against 50 percent of cavities for up to four years. And school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.
Ask Dr. John Waters and Dr. Kara Flynn if sealants are a good option for you and your family.