Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Protecting Your Child's Teeth With Dental Sealants

Left:  Sealed Molar    Right:  Unsealed Molar
Our teeth are constantly being covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque.  When we eat or drink anything that contains sugar or starch - such as milk, bread, cookies, candy, soda, juice, fruit and many other foods and beverages - bacteria turn the sugar and starch into acids that can attack tooth enamel.  For some people, repeated acid attacks eventually result in decay.

One of the most common places that tooth decay develops is on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, called premolars and molars.  When you run your tongue along the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, you can feel depressions and grooves.  The indentations, called pit and fissures, help to grind food.

Regular brushing and cleaning between teeth with floss or another interdental cleaner helps remove food particles and bacteria from the smooth surfaces of tooth enamel.  However, pits and fissures are difficult to keep clean.  That's because toothbrush bristles cannot reach into the microscopic grooves to remove plaque bacteria and tiny particles of food.

Because pits and fissure are difficult to keep clean, we recommend dental sealants.  A dental sealant is a plastic material that is applied to a chewing surface of a back tooth.  The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acid.  Ask us how dental sealants can benefit your child!

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