Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Learn a Little Known Way to Prevent Tooth Decay in Children

Here's a shocking statistic: More than 40 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have had a cavity in their primary (baby) teeth, and more than two-thirds of 16- to 19-year-olds have had a cavity in their permanent teeth.

This is sad, because tooth decay is entirely preventable. Most people have heard of brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and seeing a dentist for regular cleanings. What most people have not heard of is dental sealants

Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from tooth decay. Most tooth decay in children and teens occurs on these surfaces. Sealants protect the chewing surfaces from tooth decay by keeping germs and food particles out of these grooves.

Sealants are pretty painless, they do not require drilling.  The process is short and easy. After the tooth is cleaned, a special gel is placed on the chewing surface for a few seconds. The tooth is then washed off and dried. Then, the sealant is painted on the tooth. The dentist or dental hygienist also may shine a light on the tooth to help harden the sealant. It takes about a minute for the sealant to form a protective shield.

If you are interested in sealants, talk to your dentist.  You'll probably also need to check with your insurance. Some cover sealants, some do not.

Sometimes sealants are also put on at school. Check with your school about whether it has a dental sealant program.

Need a dentist? Find one now using our healthcare provider directory:
Dentist Locator
Pediatric Dentist Locator

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