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Brushing and flossing your teeth are the best ways to prevent cavities. However, it is difficult to clean every nook and cranny, especially the molars that you use to chew. Food particles and cavity-causing bacteria tend to hide on the molars because they are uneven and rough.
Fortunately, you can protect your teeth from cavities using a dental sealant. However, you need to understand that there is no substitute for brushing and flossing your teeth. Nevertheless, dental sealants can prevent cavities from forming. They can also help prevent tooth decay from developing into a cavity.
A dental sealant is a thin layer applied to the surface of teeth, usually the molars and premolars. The purpose of dental sealants is to prevent tooth decay. The dental sealant bonds into the ruts and depressions of the teeth to form a protective cover over the enamel.
Think of a dental sealant as a raincoat for your teeth. When leftover food on your teeth meets cavity-causing bacteria, they produce acids that can create cavities or holes in your teeth. When you get a sealant applied to your teeth, it keeps food particles out and prevents acid and bacteria from settling on your teeth in the same way a raincoat keeps you dry and clean during a storm.
Thorough flossing and brushing can get rid of plaque and food particles from your teeth. However, removing all the plaque and food particles from the teeth at the back by brushing and flossing is not always possible. Dental sealants protect such vulnerable areas of your teeth by sealing out food particles and plaque.
Kids and teens are obvious candidates for dental sealants due to the likelihood of developing tooth decay in the grooves and depressions of the molars and premolars. If you are an adult with fillings or decay in your back teeth, you can also benefit from dental sealants.
Usually, kids should get sealants on their permanent back teeth soon after they grow. This will protect the premolars and molars through the cavity-prone years. Sometimes, dentists may apply sealants on baby teeth if they have deep grooves and depressions. Baby teeth play a vital role in ensuring the correct spacing for permanent teeth. Thus, it is important to keep them healthy.
According to a report by the CDC, dental sealants can prevent 80 percent of cavities for up to two years. Furthermore, they continue to prevent 50 percent of dental cavities for up to four years. According to the report, they can last for up to nine years.
However, it is important to have your sealants checked for wearing or chipping during regular dental exams. If necessary, your dentist can replace your dental sealants. Kids without dental sealants tend to have about three times more cavities than those with sealants.
To learn more about dental sealants, visit Bronxville Family Dental at our office in Bronxville, New York. You can call 914-935-7600 today to schedule an appointment.