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Dental Sealants and 7 Other Ways to Protect Your Teeth

Posted April 14, 2023 in Sealants

 4 min read: Maintaining a proper oral health routine is essential for an attractive smile and contributes to overall health. Prevention is the key to avoiding costly or invasive dental procedures and other adverse health effects. 

Little girl sits in a dentist's chair.

There are several ways to protect your teeth and gums, with dental sealants being an excellent option for many children and adults.

What Are Dental Sealants?

The first set of molars usually appears between the ages of five and seven, with the second set appearing between the ages of 11 and 14. Dental sealants are used to help prevent cavities from forming in these back teeth.

Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars to prevent tooth decay. This protective treatment can last up to 10 years but should be checked regularly to ensure they are still intact.

How Do Dental Sealants Work?

The process of applying sealants is painless and straightforward. The dentist or dental hygienist will clean and dry the teeth before applying an acidic solution to roughen the surface and ensure a strong bond with the sealant. 

After rinsing off the solution, the sealant is applied, which hardens as it is exposed to a specially designed light. 

Are Dental Sealants Right for Me or My Child? 

While it’s important to protect all your teeth from tooth decay, regardless of age, molars and premolars have grooves and pits that can be difficult to clean, making them more susceptible to decay. 

Dental sealants act as a barrier to prevent bacteria and food particles from settling in the crevices and causing cavities.

Children and teenagers are the most common candidates for dental sealants because the enamel on their newly erupted molar is still developing, leaving them even more vulnerable to cavities. However, adults with no decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.

Dental sealants are an effective way to protect teeth from decay, but they are not the only option. 

7 Other Ways to Protect Your Family’s Smiles

In addition to dental sealants, there are other measures you should take to prevent decay and protect your and your family’s teeth and gums. 

1. Brush and Floss Regularly

Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly is crucial for maintaining good oral health. Brush your teeth using a soft toothbrush and toothpaste twice daily and floss between your teeth at least once daily to remove food particles and dental plaque.

2. Use Fluoride Products

Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and makes it more resistant to decay. Use fluoride toothpaste, mouthwash, or gel every day to help prevent cavities.

3. Watch Your Diet

A healthy, balanced diet is essential for overall wellness and oral health. Eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and foods high in calcium, such as low-fat dairy products, salmon, and dark green leafy vegetables, can help promote strong teeth and bones. It is also important to limit your intake of sugary and acidic foods and drinks, which can erode tooth enamel and cause cavities.

4. Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing sugar-free gum can help stimulate saliva production, which neutralizes acid and helps wash away food particles and bacteria.

5. Wear a Mouthguard

If you participate in contact sports or other activities that could result in a blow to the face, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from damage.

6. Avoid Tobacco Products

In addition to staining your teeth, smoking and using other tobacco products (even vaping) can lead to oral cancer, gum disease, and other health problems.

7. Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Regular dental checkups are essential for maintaining good oral health. Your dentist can detect early signs of decay or gum disease and provide treatment before they become more serious.

Compassionate Care & Dental Sealants in Las Cruces, NM

Gentle Care Dentistry offers comprehensive general, cosmetic, emergency, and pediatric dentistry in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and surrounding areas. 

We use dental sealants as an effective way to protect vulnerable teeth against decay and create custom dental treatment plans for children and adults to meet their unique needs.

To schedule a dental appointment for yourself or your child, call our Las Cruces dental office at (575) 524-3722.