If you run your tongue over your teeth, especially the back teeth you use to chew (your molars), you’ll notice something: Rather than having a smooth surface, they’re rough. You’re feeling the many nooks and crannies that even brushing can’t always clean properly. That means food can get trapped, which can lead to cavity-causing bacteria to flourish.
Although regular brushing and flossing is still the best way to keep your teeth healthy, the use of sealants can be an effective preventive measure. A sealant is a thin, protective coating adhered to your teeth, especially the chewing surface of your molars. The coating keeps food particles from reaching deep crevices that can be hard to clean.
Although adults can certainly benefit from sealants, children are especially good candidates. Their young teeth have yet to experience decay, which makes it a great time to apply a sealant. In addition, children’s teeth have not fully calcified. That means those nooks and crannies are actually deeper in their teeth than in adults—and therefore can be even more difficult to thoroughly clean.
The American Dental Association reports that sealants can reduce the risk of decay in molars by nearly 80%, and the Centers for Disease Control has found that children without sealants had three times as many cavities compared to those with sealants.
For any questions or concerns about the use of sealants, be sure to talk to your dentist.