Dental sealants can protect your children’s teeth

By Carolina Boyd

Tooth decay is the leading chronic illness among school-age children in Texas. According to the Texas Health Institute, nearly 6 out of 10 Texas children have a history of dental decay and more than 25 percent have untreated decay.

Brushing and flossing are the best ways to help prevent cavities, but it is not always easy to clean the back teeth or molars. These teeth are rough, uneven and a favorite place for leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria to hide. Dental sealants provide another option to help protect your children’s teeth.

“It’s important that children develop good oral health habits from an early age,” said Dr. Mark DeAnda, Legacy’s director of dental services. “Sealants play a significant role in preventing dental decay by sealing the grooves in teeth that are prone to bacteria and plaque accumulation.”

Preventing tooth decay is not just important for a healthy smile; it can also decrease the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Dental sealants (made from a type of resin and usually containing fluoride) can protect teeth from decay for up to 10 years.

“Sealants lower the incidence of cavities, which improves overall oral health,” said Dr. DeAnda. “Anyone who has erupted permanent teeth, poor oral hygiene, is in an underserved community or doesn’t have access to regular dental care is a candidate for sealants.”

Children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. Dental sealants do not replace the need for fluoride and only protect the surface area where placed. Fluoride toothpaste is still needed to protect all the surfaces of the tooth from decay and cavities.

To learn more about scheduling an appointment for dental sealants for your child at Legacy Community Health, visit our website.