How Dental Sealants Protect Your Child’s Oral Health

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How Dental Sealants Protect Your Child’s Oral Health

Cavity rates among children are surging? They’re so common that they can appear as soon as those first baby teeth appear. Fortunately, you can reduce the risk with dental sealants. Read on to learn more.

Children have an incredibly high risk of dental cavities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20% of those between the ages of 5 and 11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth.

Among the best preventative steps parents can take to protect their kids’ oral health are dental sealants. Since February is National Children's Dental Health Month, Drs. Krystle Fenton and Benjamin Radlein of Laguna Vista Dental, want to take a few minutes here to explain what every parent should know about this valuable protection.

What causes cavities?

Tooth enamel breaks down because of carbohydrates in the diet. This occurs when bacteria in the mouth feed on carbohydrates. As the bacteria break those carbs down, they release an acidic substance that eats tooth enamel, leading to decay and cavities. 

Consuming a diet high in sweets, sugary cereals, pastries, and soda increases the risk of cavities. One way to avoid cavities is to help your child make healthier food choices. But that’s only the beginning. You need to seal the deal with dental sealants. 

How sealants work

We apply a thin plastic coating to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars. This is the part of the mouth where most cavities occur. Sealants protect the tooth by filling the crevices and the grooves where food particles are more likely to build up and harder to reach, even with regular brushing. 

Sealants protect chewing surfaces from cavities by covering them with a protective shield that blocks out germs and food. Once applied, they protect against 80% of cavities for 2 years and continue protecting against 50% of cavities for up to 4 years.

When children should get sealants  

Cavities can develop as soon as that first tooth appears. As a result, you should get your child’s first sealants the moment their first set of molars emerges, typically around age 6. 

By age 12, most children get their second set of molars. At that point, you can also book an appointment to protect those teeth with sealant. 

What to expect when a child gets sealants

When a cavity develops, it requires a filling — a procedure that takes longer, costs more, and causes more discomfort during the treatment. We can apply sealants within minutes, and the process is entirely pain-free. 

During the appointment, we simply use a small brush to paint a special solution on the molar that coats the tooth's chewing surface. Then, we dry it with a special light. That’s it; the sealant is in place. 

Sealants and cavity prevention

It’s hard to beat the benefits of dental sealants. 

On top of that, many insurance plans cover sealants. However, even if you pay out-of-pocket, dental sealants are significantly cheaper than those associated with dental fillings. 

How to protect your child’s teeth with dental sealants 

It’s easy to get started with sealants at Laguna Vista Dental. This step protects your child’s teeth with an affordable yet powerful solution against cavities. 

To protect your child’s oral health with dental sealants, call or click to request an appointment at our Elk Grove, California, office to get started today.