Dental hygiene has been taught to us since we were little kids in kindergarten. Brushing our teeth after every meal and flossing were the instructions we never wanted to forget if we didn’t wish to go to the dentist and yes, we did all that and did it to this present day. However, brushing of teeth and flossing can only do so much when it comes to prevention of dental cavities.
The back teeth (molars and premolars) are characterized by crannies and nooks where floss and toothbrushes cannot always reach to remove the plaque and food particles. These results in dental caries due to the inability of the teeth to be protected by saliva and fluoride that are produced in our mouths. To prevent this from happening, we need to find a solution that prevents our teeth from being a harbor for all the food remnants in our mouths. These is where dental sealants come in.
A dental sealant is a thin, tooth-colored plastic film that is applied to the molars and premolars to prevent dental decay. The dental sealant prevents tooth decay by preventing the accumulation of food and bacteria in the grooves and nooks of the back teeth. These is because when these food particles, bacteria and plaque are left in the fissure of the teeth for some time, they produce acids that cause tooth decay. The sealants create a smooth surface that increases the accessibility of the saliva that is a natural protection for our teeth and bristles of toothbrushes when we brush our teeth.
A common question that is asked by people who just learned about dental sealants is ‘Who and when can one apply dental sealants?’ Dentists advise that children should get dental sealants as soon as their permanent molar and premolar teeth grow. These is useful in the prevention of tooth decay during the prone years of between 7 and 14 years. However, adults who do not have teeth cavities or fillings can also use sealants. Dental sealants can be applied by oral health professionals that include dentists, dental hygienists and oral health therapists. It is necessary for people looking to get dental sealants to go to a professional to get the best outcome and facilitate retention and longevity of the dental sealants.
Dental sealants have been proven to be highly effective against dental cavities in teeth that are sealed and are maintained on a daily basis. Maintenance involves brushing teeth twice a day with fluoride- based toothpaste, eating a healthy diet that does not include food such as sweets that accelerate tooth decay and also visiting a dentist twice a year for dental check-ups. Besides, the process of applying a sealant is very safe and is not invasive. The best part about it is also the fact that it costs way less than getting a cavity filled. Even though they are bound to wear off naturally, dental sealants have the ability to remain effective for up to 5 years. If the material used for the dental sealant is of superior quality, in this case, Resin, the longevity of the sealant becomes greater. Therefore, everyone should embrace the use of dental sealants.
Nadia Kiderman is an oral health specialist.