What is a low-cost, easy way to prevent cavities and help ensure a healthy smile for your child for years to come? Dental sealants! They are safe and painless. Made from medical grade resin, sealant thinly coats the teeth without penetrating the enamel. This coating prevents food and bacterial residue from creating decay in the teeth, particularly molars. The American Dental Association reports that sealants can reduce the risk of cavities by 80%. Less than half of children in the United States have sealants, although they are a great prevention tool.
Applying sealant as soon as your child’s molars come in can protect them for up to ten years. If the sealant is properly maintained and redone throughout adulthood, cavities can in fact be prevented for a lifetime. In the case of existing cavities, sealants can help prevent further damage and decay. To maintain sealants, regular dental hygiene should be practiced. Brushing twice a day and consistent flossing will increase the longevity and efficacy of sealants.
Is It Necessary?
It is important to prevent cavities, and to treat cavities in children quickly, even if they’re not causing pain. On average, children with neglected oral health receive lower grades and miss more school. If left untreated, cavities can interfere with everyday activities such as eating, drinking, playing and talking. Untreated cavities can lead to other oral illnesses, like gum disease or tooth infection. Dental health affects the rest of the body. Poor dental health can increase risk for respiratory disease, and lead to pneumonia. Multiple chronic illnesses have been linked to oral health.
February is Children’s Dental Health Month
What better time to instill the importance of good oral hygiene in your little ones than Children’s Dental Month? Regular checkups should be scheduled, especially for children. Establishing good hygiene habits and monitoring dental health can prevent a lifetime of pain, procedures, and health issues. Daily use of fluoride mouthwash, flossing, and brushing teeth are important to maintaining oral health. Healthy teeth are associated with increased self-esteem, especially in adolescents. It can be difficult to guide and encourage children to take care of their teeth, but the benefits are hefty.
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