Blog / Dental Health

Can Sealants Help Prevent Cavities in Children?

October 24, 2016

Young child laughing at the camera while eating an ice cream cone

Cavities are not uncommon in children, but there are steps you can take to minimize the likelihood of them developing. For example, you can encourage your children to brush twice a day, have them floss regularly, and bring your kids in for sealants—an additional line of defense against cavities. Although you may have heard about sealants before, you’ve probably wondered what they are and why dentists use them. We have the answers right here!

What are Sealants?

Sealants are thin coatings that are painted onto the grooves of back teeth. The process of getting dental sealants is simple. First, we clean and prepare the surface of the teeth. Then, we paint the sealants on and use a curing light to harden them. This creates a virtually invisible protective shield.

How do Sealants Work?

When sugar particles “meet” bacteria in your mouth, acids form. These acids erode tooth enamel, sometimes even creating holes—which are what we call cavities. Sealants prevent food and sugar from lingering in crevices that can’t be reached by toothbrushes, ultimately preventing cavities and tooth decay.

How Long do Sealants Last?

Sealants are very durable. In most cases, they last for several years. We screen them at every appointment to see if they need to be reapplied.

What are the Benefits of Sealants?

Although tooth decay is largely preventable, it is the most common chronic disease in children. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Sealants are extremely effective at protecting teeth from decay.

In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) reviewed all of the published studies on the impact of dental sealants. Based on their literature review, they concluded in a joint report that “sealants should be a routine part of cavity prevention, as children with sealants are up to 80% less prone to cavities compared to those without them.”

Because sealants are so helpful at preventing children from developing cavities, we strongly recommend them for our younger patients. You’ll be happy to know that unlike some other dental procedures, most children look forward to getting sealants. And the cost of a sealant is roughly 1/4 the cost of a filling, making prevention the best financial decision as well!

Consider sealants a win-win—you’ll feel great knowing that your kids’ teeth are protected, and they’ll love getting their sealants!

What about Adults? Can Sealants help them too?

Although sealants are used less commonly with adults, we still recommend them for some of our patients as a preventative measure. Typically, we suggest sealants for adults who are at a high risk of developing cavities, but don’t already have fillings or sealants on their teeth.

And speaking of preventative measures that keep teeth strong and healthy, if you or your children are due for a dental checkup, it’s easy to schedule one with Dr. Walton or Dr. Petry. You can request an appointment online by clicking here, or by calling our office at 330.434.3485. We are conveniently located at 508 E. Exchange Street in the heart of Akron.