Preventing Decay with Dental Sealants

Preventing Decay with Dental Sealants

Lee esto en EspañolTooth decay is the most common ongoing childhood disease in the United States. Nearly half of all children between six and 11 years old have cavities. Fortunately, tooth decay can be stopped with good oral care.

There is one tool parents appreciate when it comes to beefing up kids' oral care – sealants. Sealants protect against 80 percent of cavities for two years. They continue to offer protection against 50 percent of cavities for up to four years. That’s a game changer for parents and kids.

Sealants Shield Teeth

Even with frequent brushing, it’s can still be hard to remove plaque and food from teeth. Dental sealants are plastic-like substances that are painted onto the tooth’s chewing surfaces. They are safe and act as a barrier to help “seal out” food and germs that cause tooth decay.

Tooth decay often happens soon after teeth come in. That’s why young children are great candidates for sealants. Permanent back teeth are most at risk. Dental experts advise sealants be placed on these teeth when they first appear.

Sealants are Easy and Painless

Sealants have been used safely for more than 30 years. They are durable and can last years without being reapplied. Sealants not only help prevent tooth decay, they keep smiles healthy and reduce the need for other dental procedures.

Talk to your dentist. Together, you can decide if sealants are right for your child.

Pay Attention to Prevention

Always remember sealants are just one part of good dental care. To help keep young smiles and mouths healthy, encourage your child to:

  • Brush twice a day
  • Use toothpaste with fluoride
  • Floss once a day
  • Limit sugary snacks
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Get regular professional cleanings

For tips on the link between oral health and overall health, visit Log in to Blue Access for MembersSM. Click on the “My Coverage” tab, then go to “Dental” to visit the Dental Wellness Center.

Check your plan benefits for information about dental coverage. Be sure to look for an in-network dentist. In-network dentists offer discounts that help save you money.

Plan your family’s dental visits today!

Sources: Oral Careleaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2023; Dental Sealantsleaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021; Children’s Oral Healthleaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022

Originally published 6/16/2016; Revised 2021, 2023