Go the Extra Mile for a Healthy Smile

For some, good oral hygiene may mean just brushing, flossing and using a germ-fighting mouthwash, but for others, that’s only the beginning of a cavity-fighting regime. In fact, many people are taking heed to an oral health care procedure more commonly associated with children; the use of dental sealants.

Decay is subject to begin early in life, affecting children and teens’ teeth that are exposed to harmful foods and beverages. Many dentists recommend and apply dental sealants to premolars and molars in their younger patients, but according to AGD Impact, the monthly newsmagazine of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), sealants can also protect adult teeth and seal them from decay-causing bacteria.

Dental sealants are made of plastic and are applied directly to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth that fit into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of teeth.

“It takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth and once applied, can protect teeth from decay for up to several years,” says AGD spokesperson and past president, Bruce DeGinder, DDS, MAGD.

So how does a thin plastic film painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth protect tooth enamel from bacteria and acids that cause decay and cavities?

“As long as the sealant remains intact, small food particles and bacteria that cause cavities cannot penetrate through or around a sealant,” says Dr. DeGinder. “Sealant protection is reduced or lost when part or the entire bond between the tooth and sealant is broken.”

Visiting your general dentist twice a year for regular dental appointments will allow the dentists to check the condition of dental sealants and reapply them when necessary.

What is the procedure for applying a dental sealant?

  • Clean the teeth (Your dentist may need to check whether decay is present in the grooves of the teeth)
  • Roughen the chewing surfaces with an acid solution (This process will help the sealant stick to the teeth)
  • Paint the sealant on the tooth (It bonds directly to the tooth and hardens)
How Does What I Eat Affect My Oral Health?

How Does What I Eat Affect My Oral Health?

You may be able to prevent two of the most common diseases of modern civilization, tooth decay (caries) and periodontal (gum) disease, simply by improving your diet. Decay results when the teeth and other hard tissues of the mouth...

How to Keep Your Teeth for a Lifetime

How to Keep Your Teeth for a Lifetime

It’s a common myth that senior citizens are destined to lose their teeth, reports the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). There is no reason seniors cannot keep their teeth for a lifetime, since tooth loss is simply the result of an oral disease – not the aging...

Like Parent, Like Child: Good Oral Health Starts at Home

Like Parent, Like Child: Good Oral Health Starts at Home

Parents are a child’s first teacher in life and play a significant role in maintaining his or her overall health. Providing oral health education to mothers and families is essential to teaching children healthy habits and preventing early childhood tooth decay,...