As important as daily brushing and flossing are to maintaining healthy teeth, reaching every nook and cranny isn’t easy to do. The thing is, even small bits of bacteria that you’ve missed can become a problem over time. Sealants help solve this problem by providing a second layer of defense against tooth decay. In this post, a Miami Beach, FL dentist talks about sealants and how they help with cavity prevention.
The Ongoing Battle With Tooth Decay
Our incessant need for food creates an ongoing battle with tooth decay that’s not easily won. Brushing and flossing help a lot, however, it can be especially hard to keep the teeth at the back of the mouth as clean as they should be. Back teeth or molars are the ones that grind up food. They’re naturally rough and uneven, which creates little crevices where leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria can hide.
Once foods get lodged in these areas, the mouth’s native bacteria start to feed on them. In the process of feeding, the bacteria secrete a corrosive substance that eats away at your tooth enamel. This is how tooth decay starts and how cavities form.
What Are Sealants?
Sealants consist of a thin layer of plastic or resin composite that adheres to the chewing surface of your molars or back teeth. Since dental sealants have been around since the 1960s, there’s lots of data to back up their effectiveness at preventing cavities. Overall, sealants have been found to reduce the risk of decay by an estimated 80 percent in molars for adults and children alike.
How Do Sealants Work?
Sealants work to prevent cavities by keeping bits of food from lodging inside molars, the most vulnerable teeth in your mouth. The procedure entails prepping your molars with an acidic gel to roughen their surfaces so the sealant can form a strong bond with your teeth. From there, the gel is rinsed off and the sealant is applied and hardened using a special blue light.
Who Can Get Sealants?
Both children and adults can benefit from getting sealants and the earlier you get them the better. This means children as young as six years old can have a cavity-preventing seal that protects their teeth during the formative years. Dental sealants can also be placed on pre-existing cavities to prevent further damage to your tooth.
If you have more questions about dental sealants or wish to schedule a consultation, please don’t hesitate to call us, your Miami Beach, FL dentist!