Dental sealants are the most effective treatments for preventing cavities in children who are vulnerable to tooth decay. At Stellar Kids Dentistry in Mukilteo, Mill Creek, and Everett, Washington, our pediatric dentists understand the importance of healthy teeth from day one. Sealing teeth with protective coatings ensures that they stay healthy and free of cavities.
We know how hard you work to make sure your children don’t develop tooth decay at a young age. That’s why your kids’ dentist at Stellar Kids Dentistry always encourages dental sealants if your child is prone to cavities.
Let’s delve a little deeper into what dental sealants are, how to care for them, and which foods your child should avoid after getting one.
What are dental sealants?
A dental sealant is a protective coating that your pediatric dentist applies to your child’s chewing surfaces to prevent cavities. While applied as a liquid, sealants eventually harden and act as barriers to protect your little one’s teeth against plaque, bacteria, and food debris. They literally seal out tooth decay to prevent cavities.
Sealants are especially important for young children who still have baby teeth, or milk teeth. Baby teeth are softer and have weaker enamel than permanent teeth, so they’re more susceptible to decay and damage. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.”
Who should get dental sealants?
You can get a dental sealant at any age! Sealants are an excellent addition to regular brushing and flossing for children and adults. However, sealants are typically geared toward children with new molars because these teeth incur the most damage and impact from chewing. Your child’s first molars typically appear around age 6, while their second arrive around age 12.
The sooner you protect these new molars with dental sealants, the less likely they are to develop cavities.
Foods to Avoid After Dental Sealants
One of the most common questions our kids’ dentists hear from parents after their child gets a dental sealant is, “What can they eat now?” This is an excellent question because our goal is to keep your little one’s dental sealant in good condition for as long as possible.
Fortunately, sealants don’t require any major dietary changes, nor do they need special care other than brushing and flossing.
Sealants are made of medical-grade resin, which is durable but not immune to wear-and-tear. To ensure your child’s dental sealant lasts for as long as possible, to try avoid foods that can damage the material, such as:
- Hard candies (jawbreakers, lollipops, etc)
- Fruit snacks
- Gummy candies
Limiting sugary snacks, fruit juices, and sodas can also help preserve the life of a dental sealant.
It’s important to remember that having a sealant doesn’t mean your child can’t get cavities. Dental sealants are not impenetrable, and they primarily cover the chewing surfaces of the molars. Plaque can still collect near the gum line, which increases your child’s risk of gum disease and decay on their surrounding teeth.
For more information on how to take care of dental sealants, call Stellar Kids Dentistry or schedule an appointment online now!