One of the best-kept “secrets” when it comes to children’s oral health is the sealant. These decay-preventing treatments are simple, painless, and effective – yet only about one-third of children have them, according to the National Institutes of Health. Sealants are essentially painted on to a child’s teeth and act as a shield against harmful bacteria and sugars. This treatment is especially important for the back molars, as they contain deeper ridges and are harder to clean with a toothbrush. During the simple procedure, your child’s dentist will clean and dry the targeted tooth. A solution is then applied to roughen the surface of the tooth and help the sealant stick more effectively. Next, the tooth is dried and the liquid sealant is applied. Within a few seconds, the sealant hardens into the ridges of the tooth and is ready to start protecting your child’s mouth from decay. That’s it – really!
The National Institutes of Health suggests that children who get sealants are able to save time and money later on because they have fewer fillings and other decay-correcting procedures. Best of all, with proper care, sealants can last up to a decade. During that time, if your dentist starts to notice any wear, he or she can reapply the sealant. According to the National Institutes of Health, the most critical time to apply sealants is as soon as a child’s back molars erupt. This generally occurs between the ages of 5 and 7 for the first set, and again between 11 and 14 for the “12-year molars.” To learn more about sealants and guarding your child’s teeth against decay, talk with a dentist on your True Dental Discounts, dental plan. It’s one of the most important investments you can make toward your children’s health.