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Defending Your Children’s Teeth (and Dentists): The Value of Sealants

sealantsResults from recent study show that dental sealants are very helpful in keeping children’s teeth cavity free and protected for longer periods of time.

“Introduced in the 1960s, dental sealants are plastic coatings applied to the surfaces of teeth. They fill in and seal pits and grooves of teeth, making them more resistant to bacteria that can cause cavities. Because molars are more cavity-prone, sealants are usually applied there. Dental sealants are most often recommended when children’s first permanent molars come in — between ages 5 and 7 — and again when their “12-year molars” arrive — usually between ages 11 and 14. Dentists may also offer sealants for older children and for adults prone to cavities.”

“The Cochrane review compiled results from all such studies and concluded that sealants’ cavity-fighting abilities were considerable. The review estimated that in a population of cavity-free children with a 40 percent chance of getting a first cavity over the next two years without sealants, application of sealants would reduce the rate to just 6 percent. Another systematic review of sealant clinical trials, published in August, came to similar conclusions. And the American Dental Association encourages sealant application.”

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