We know that we go on and on about tooth care… it’s kind of in our job description. But what if your kids’ brushing routines are on point, and they’re still getting cavities — even sometimes multiples during a single checkup? If you have taken the right dietary steps, and are 100% confident that they’re brushing properly and often, your kids’ cavities might not be entirely their fault.
Just like faces and bodies and personalities, each set of teeth is unique to its owner. We all have common tooth features, but sometimes the natural contours on teeth can cause problems. In some children and adults, the pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of back teeth are especially deep or irregularly shaped. Food, plaque, and other cavity-causing substances gather in these nooks and crannies, thwarting even the most diligent brushing attempts.
Sealants to the Rescue
The good news is that there’s an option other than simply filling in the cavities as they occur. Around since the 1960’s, dental sealants have gained popularity in recent years for adding a protective layer to teeth and preventing decay. The treatment is simple, painless and performed in our offices. It consists of painting a thin plastic coating on chewing surfaces of the molars and pre-molars. The sealant is then hardened with ultraviolet light, much like modern fillings. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, sealants are recommended for children between the ages of 6 -12, and the treatment can remain effective for up to 10 years. Even small cavities that existed before treatment will not spread, since the sealant cuts off the source of decay.
Debunking BPA Concerns
In recent years dental sealants have come into question for containing Bisphenol A (BPA). It is widely used in consumer packaging, as well as plastic water bottles, canned foods, pacifiers, cash register tape, and many other products. BPA is present in most U.S. residents, its effects on overall health have yet to be conclusively determined. And while dental sealants do contain traces of BPA, the levels are far lower than other common areas of exposure. In fact, according to the ADA, exposure from breathing normal everyday air is 100 times higher than standard dental sealants.
Even more good news – if Drs. Meyer or Johns determine it would reduce cavities, dental insurance is likely to cover the treatment cost. Along with a fluoride-based toothpaste and good brushing habits, sealants provide a One-Two punch that prevents nearly all tooth decay.
If you have a question about sealants for your child, ask us at their next appointment.