February heralds the annual American Dental Association’s (ADA) National Children’s Dental Health Month! Designed to raise awareness for optimal oral health in children, the NCDHM has been helping millions of families across the country. They are promoting better oral health with the theme, “Sealants Make Sense” this year.
The goal of the ADA is to help parents create healthy oral health habits while children are young. They also encourage scheduling routine dental cleanings and exams to help your child get the strong start they need to instill a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
Why Dental Sealants
Irene Hilton, DDS, who is currently the chair of the ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention’s advisory committee, syas about this year’s theme:
“Dental sealants on permanent molars reduce the risk of caries by 80%. … I am excited that this year’s National Children Dental Health Month theme is about dental sealants, so more families are aware of this cavity-preventing treatment.”
We couldn’t agree more with Dr. Hilton! Making sure your child receives dental sealants will support their daily oral hygiene routine keeping harmful plaque away. Unchecked plaque leads to tooth decay and gum disease, so brushing and flossing play a vital part in keeping plaque formation to a minimum. This practice, combined with regular dental checkups, can only be made more efficient by adding dental sealants to the molars in the back of the mouth. Those are precisely the teeth that are hard to reach and clean effectively.
The Power of Dental Sealants
The benefits that sealants bring to the table are they protect your teeth from bacteria, plaque and tartar. By applying this thin sealant material (on the deep grooves located on the top of the teeth where the chewing takes place), it acts as a protective coating. It can stop oral debris and food particles from becoming lodged in the grooves.
Sealants keep out decay on the molars, which protect their general health as well. Your child’s oral health is closely linked to their overall health and is also the basis for the health of their permanent teeth to come in. In fact, their primary teeth are valuable placeholders that should be protected until their adult teeth are ready to erupt.
By recognizing National Children’s Dental Health Month, we are happy to remind you to consider getting dental sealants if your child has molars. Dental sealants can last for years with proper care. Their first molars come in around six years old, while the second molars come through around 12 years old.
Caring for Sealants
- Brush twice a day for two minutes each time (play a song, so they spend the recommended time cleaning).
- Floss once a day (before bedtime is ideal).
- Provide them with an enamel boosting toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Come in for a dental cleaning twice a year for a full cleaning, examination, and dental X-rays to spot problems early.
As you can see, dental sealants give your child the extra protection they need for strong, healthy teeth and a confident smile! Give our pediatric dental team a call to schedule your child’s next visit!
- -Crossword Activity (PDF)
- -Coloring Sheet (PDF)
- -Calendar Activity (PDF)
- -Grid Drawing Activity (PDF)