SEALANTS & FLUORIDE TREATMENTS
Tooth decay leads to cavities. Cavities can be a significant problem for not only children, but adults as well. Numerous factors lead to cavities, however, there are also some helpful strategies to prevent them. Dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating that's painted on the surface of teeth. This protective shield covers the deep grooves between teeth to extend their life and prevent cavities.
Flossing and brushing teeth are good measures to remove food particles and plaque. The problem is that this does not always get into the nooks and crannies of teeth. Sealants are an extra measure to protect these areas in the back teeth and prevent tooth decay.
Who Should Get Sealants?
Children and teenagers are great candidates for sealants, due to the likelihood of developing decay in the grooves of back teeth. Adults may also benefit from sealants. Typically, children get sealants applied to their teeth as soon as the adult teeth come in. This is to protect those teeth through cavity-prone years, which is typically six to fourteen years of age.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Sealants are known to protect teeth from decay for up to ten years. This is not always the case so sealants should be checked during regular checkups by your local dentist for chipping or wearing.
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Children benefit from fluoride between the ages of six and sixteen. Fluoride strengthens and protects teeth from cavities and works to protect teeth in two ways:
- Fluoride protects teeth from acid in the mouth that's formed from food or when bacteria consumes sugar.
- Fluoride strengthens teeth by hardening minerals deposited during a process called remineralization.
Many community water systems are enriched with fluoride. Daily use of this water while brushing teeth combined with a sealant provide a great support system that protects enamel.