Tooth decay is common among young children because of their often sugary diet, and their not well-established dental hygiene. Children love to eat sweets and often forget to brush their teeth—bad combination. Because of this, bacteria can multiply in the teeth and cause tooth decay.
To prevent tooth decay, brushing and flossing habits should be taught to children at a young age. However, you can also prevent tooth decay by arranging for your child to visit to a dentist to have dental sealants applied to your child’s teeth.
Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings painted on the surface of the teeth to prevent tooth decay caused by bacteria. These sealants effectively separate bacteria from the tooth enamel, thus blocking the interaction between the bacteria and the fissures on the surface of the teeth, effectively preventing tooth decay.
Dental sealants are usually applied to the exterior part of molars, because that area tents to be the main area subject to decay. Dental sealants are applied in a dental clinic, and are usually painless and quick. Normally, these sealants last for at least 10 years, but they also need to be checked during your child’s regular visits to the dentist.
In protecting a child’s teeth, dental sealants are primarily used when the child has reached the age of 6. During this time, molars start to erupt, calling for the use of sealants to prevent the formation of dental caries. Dental sealants are again used when the child turns 12 years of age (when the permanent set of molars erupts), for the same purpose.
Although dental sealants serve as prophylaxis against dental caries, the need to use fluoride (in toothpaste and in fluoridated water) is not diminished. Fluoride contains the minerals necessary to enhance a child’s teeth composition and enamel.
Dental sealants are just used as a precaution for tooth decay; they are used as complements but not as substitutes for healthy dental habits. So even if you choose to get dental sealants for your child, ensure that you also teach him or her to brush, floss, and use fluoride regularly to ensure that they have a bright smile for years to come.