While teaching good brushing and flossing habits to children is crucial to the maintenance of healthy teeth, the WDA encourages parents to use dental sealants as a preventive measure to help keep their children’s teeth cavity-free.
Children can benefit the most from the use of dental sealants. The chewing surfaces of children’s newly erupted permanent teeth are highly susceptible to dental caries (cavities). Therefore, sealants are an excellent form of preventive maintenance to stop cavities before they start.
A dental sealant is a thin plastic film painted on the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars (the teeth directly in front of the molars) to prevent plaque from collecting in the pits and fissures of those teeth. Accepted by the American Dental Association Council on Dental Therapeutics in 1972, sealants are widely recognized by dental health experts as a means to prevent cavities and dental decay.
Studies have proven that properly applied sealants are 100 percent effective in protecting the chewing surfaces of teeth from cavities. Acting as a barrier, sealants prohibit small particles of food or bacteria from penetrating areas of teeth more susceptible to decay. As long as the sealant stays intact, cavities will not develop in the area covered by the sealant.