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Sealants and Fluoride
Are you struggling with cavities, or are you afraid that cavities will eventually form on either your or your child's teeth? If yes, then you may want to consider dental sealants to help protect your teeth from cavities and tooth decay.
What Is a dental sealant?
Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are applied to the top surface of your back teeth — the molars and premolars. Those areas are the hardest to clean and the most prone to tooth decay and plaque buildup, which is why sealants are usually applied only to them.
The main purpose of the sealants is to fight off tooth decay and dental plaque, which is the reason why cavities form in the first place.
Once applied to the teeth, the sealants quickly bond to each groove, providing additional protection for your teeth's main chewing surfaces. Although, brushing and flossing are still the most effective means of fighting off decay and plaque, the additional protection provided by dental sealants isn't something that you should take lightly.
Who can benefit from dental sealants?
Anyone can get dental sealants and benefit from them, although they are the most beneficial for children and teenagers. It is widely recommended that parents have their child's premolars and molars sealed as soon as they erupt. This will help fight off cavities in the cavity-prone years of ages 6 through 15.
Of course, adults and pretty much anyone can benefit from dental sealants as the procedure shields teeth from cavities and deterioration.
How long do sealants last?
Dental sealants can last for as long as 10 years! You're getting more than your money's worth if you have your molars and premolars sealed.
Just think about how much money you'll be saving from the potential tooth decay treatments that could've been needed if not for the sealants on your back teeth.
Protecting Your Teeth From Tooth Decay and Cavities
Dental sealants are extremely useful and no one can deny that. However, they are not the only way to fight off tooth decay and cavities, both in adults and in children.
What remains the best and smartest way to keep your teeth and mouth healthy is also the simplest things to do — brushing and flossing regularly.
Make sure that you brush your teeth two times a day, for at least two minutes and floss at least once. You can also use an alcohol-free mouthwash to further rid your teeth and gums of decay-causing bacteria.
You can protect your teeth from tooth decay and cavities even further by making nutritious foods a part of your daily meal. And, of course, you shouldn't forget to visit your dentist every six months for dental checkups and cleanings.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that has been proven to strengthen teeth and prevent the incidence of tooth decay. This simple preventive measure of applying a fluoride varnish to the teeth can strengthen teeth at risk for decay and create a tooth surface that is more resistant to decay.
How does fluoride work?
Applying a fluoride varnish protects teeth from decay. Fluoride is applied twice a year and varnish works by repairing gaps in the tooth enamel, protecting teeth from plaque forming bacteria that likes to colonize in small pits and gaps.
Fluoride is easily applied to teeth. It dries almost immediately upon contact with clean dry teeth and will not be removed by saliva. The procedure is quick, painless, and often included in dental insurance coverage, but you will want to check with your provider to be certain.
Using both fluoride varnishes and sealants on the chewing surfaces of your teeth are effective ways to help prevent or slow down tooth decay. Please contact us if you have any further questions, concerns, or would like to schedule an appointment.
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Nancy Shiba, DDS
125 N Jackson Ave, San Jose, CA 95116-1903