Preventing cavities in children is an ongoing battle, but it is so important to their dental health down the road. Getting into good habits such as brushing and flossing at least twice a day, and getting regular dental checkups, will put your child on a path to healthy teeth for life. If practicing good oral hygiene is not enough – or you simply want extra protection against cavities – you might consider dental sealants. Springs Pediatric Dentist in Colorado Springs, CO offers kid-friendly dental care to help ensure healthy teeth for your child, including regular dental checkups and the application of dental sealants to prevent cavities.
How Do Cavities Form?
Since it has probably been a long time, it might be a good idea to do a refresher on cavities and how they form. First, everyone carries cavity-causing bacteria in their mouths. Whenever you eat, leftover food particles and the bacteria meet up and start to produce acids. If the acid is not removed, it will eat away at the tooth enamel, eventually creating holes or cavities. Brushing and flossing can remove the food particles and bacteria. Unfortunately, good dental hygiene is not always enough to prevent cavities. The problem is usually worse in children, who might either forget to brush, don’t brush long enough, or who “miss” spots.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are made from a chemical called Bisephenol A or BPA, which is the same chemical found in plastic. The sealant is usually applied to the back teeth and molars, which are harder for a child to reach with a toothbrush. The coating fills the deep grooves in the teeth and forms a protective barrier to keep bacteria out. A report by the Centers for Disease Control concluded that dental sealants prevent 80 percent of cavities for two years, and continue to protect a child’s teeth for up to four years.
What are the Recommendations for Dental Sealants?
According to the American Dental Association, dental sealants are recommended for children aged 5-14. The Centers for Disease Control also released a report in 2016, which looked at school-aged children 6-11. The report found that children who did not have dental sealants were nearly three times more likely to have cavities than those who did.
How early should you start? Sealants can be considered as soon as your child’s first permanent molars come in, which happens around age 5-7. A child’s second permanent molars usually appear around age 11-14, so another application of dental sealant is recommended at this stage, too.
By the way, adults can get dental sealants as well.
Are Dental Sealants Safe?
Of course you do not want to put anything harmful into your child’s mouth. Although the use of a chemical or plastic might be cause for concern, dental sealants are made with extremely low levels of BPA. According to the American Dental Association, children are exposed to more BPA from food, sunscreen, shampoo, body wash and cosmetics than are found in dental sealants. If you are worried, you can find BPA-free sealants, however.
Worried about your child developing cavities?
Even the most diligent parent cannot always ensure a child brushes his or her teeth correctly. You can wage a constant battle or you can add a little protection with dental sealants to keep out bacteria and ward off cavities. You will be rewarded with a healthy smile from your child as a thank you. If you want to know more about dental sealants or you are looking for a kid-friendly dentist with the experience to take care of your child’s oral health, contact Springs Pediatric Dentist. We have two pediatric dental offices in Colorado Springs, CO for your convenience. Call 719-265-9600 or go online to make an appointment today.