If you’re a parent, you know that getting your child to brush after every meal can be a challenge. Brushing and flossing are the best ways to help prevent cavities, but your children may have other priorities.

While brushing is important, it’s not always possible to reach every nook and cranny of your teeth, especially back molars where food particles and cavity-causing bacteria can hide. That’s why sealants, a clear, thin protective coating, can be a key treatment in reducing and preventing cavities when applied to teeth.

In fact, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. This is especially important when it comes to your child's dental health since, according to a report issued by the Center for Disease Control, "school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants." (October 2016)

Early intervention is key. Sealants should be applied before teeth have a chance to decay. First molars appear around age 6, and second molars break through around age 12. Applying sealants to new molars can keep them cavity-free from the start, which helps save time and money in the long run.

How sealants are applied. It’s an easy and painless process. Your dentist preps the surface of your tooth by applying a gel to form a strong bond between your tooth and the sealant. Sealant is then ready to be applied into the grooves of your tooth making the surfaces smooth which prevents bacteria-filled plaque from sticking to teeth. Sealants harden and dry to a clear, invisible coating, so your dentists can observe if the sealant is effectively protecting your tooth each time you come in for your appointment.

Sealants will often last for several years. Your dentist can advise if sealants are an option for you and how often you might need to reapply them.

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