If you have cavities, there is a good chance a few may be on the molars which are the large teeth at the back of your mouth. A whopping nine out of 10 cavities are in these chompers. How does that happen? Well, take a quick look back there and you’ll have your answer.
Deep grooves in the surface of the molars easily trap bits of food and sugars.
Sugars that get trapped in and between teeth come from sources like candy and soda, but after you chew foods like pasta, bread and chips, much of it breaks down into sugars. It turns out that sugars are the enemy of healthy, strong teeth!
If you don’t brush at least twice a day, then you are putting your teeth at risk of cavities because the bacteria isn’t thoroughly cleaned off all surfaces of teeth. Most toothbrushes can’t easily remove the debris that gets trapped in the pits and fissures on the surface of your molars. That’s why it’s so easy to get cavities back there.
The good news is that there’s a great way to protect your teeth against caries (also known as cavities) a dental sealant.
What are dental sealants
Dental sealants are safe for kids and adults. In its liquid form, sealants are a thin plastic coating that’s painted onto the surface of teeth. Unlike dental fillings used to fill cavities, the procedure to apply dental sealants is non-invasive. There are no numbing agents or drilling required. Your dentist applies a thin layer of liquid resin to the surface of your molars. The resin runs into and fills the grooves and a LED light used to harden the sealant on the tooth.
Benefits of dental sealants
Simply put, dental sealants protect teeth from cavities. In fact, for two years after the procedure, sealants prevent 80 percent of new cavities from emerging. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kids aged 6 to 11 who don’t have protective sealants on their teeth have nearly three times as many cavities compared to kids who have sealants.
Delaying getting sealants can spell bad news for adults and kids. The longer you hold off on the procedure, the more time food and bacteria has to infiltrate the grooves in your teeth. Once cavities start to form, it can cause problems eating, drinking and can develop a tooth or gum infection.
Why kids should get dental sealants
Thanks to a diet high in sugars, kids are especially at risk of getting cavities and exposing new adult teeth to lifelong decay. Foods like chips and crackers break down into sugars and beverages like energy drinks and fruit juice are packed with sugars and acids that lead to cavities. Also, dentists believe that dental sealants are a great tool for protecting young teeth because kids can be inconsistent practicing proper dental hygiene. Children, especially, do not have the dexterity to properly brush and floss their teeth.
Are dental sealants safe?
There’s a belief that dental sealants are unsafe because they contain BPAs. Here’s what you need to know about sealants and bisphenol A: BPA is a resin that’s used to make all kinds of products, from water bottles to the lining of food cans. Some studies have suggested that BPA can be harmful to developing children. Dental sealants do not actually contain BPA. However, they do contain compounds that can transform into a small amount of BPA after they come into contact with saliva. But the compound can easily be washed away. According to WebMD, “Scrubbing and rinsing sealants and fillings after they are applied removes 88% to 95% of the compounds that can become BPA.” And research published by the American Dental Association has shown that kids are exposed to more BPA from the air, food, drinks, and even shampoo, than the amount in dental sealants.
Taking care of dental sealants
If you have dental sealants, you don’t have to make any changes to a good dental hygiene routine. Patients should continue brushing their teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day. Experts suggest that kids and adults should have dental sealants monitored twice a year at their regular dental checkups.
Are you ready to talk about dental sealants? If you need more information or you’re ready to make an appointment, give us a call today!