What’s the Big Deal About Fluoride and Sealants?

Protecting your child’s teeth from decay is one of the most important things you can do to ensure they’re given a strong foundation for good oral health. While many don’t think about it, a child’s baby teeth play a crucial role in how your child’s mouth forms as they grow and develop. Baby teeth also help children form speech patterns and aid in nutritional absorption as children chew and break down food.

By protecting your child’s baby teeth you’re ensuring their future adult teeth have the best opportunity for a healthy future. Sealants and fluoride can both play a large part in protecting pediatric dental patient’s teeth.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is an element that can be added to water or used as a topical treatment to prevent decay. It is present in nearly all water systems in America, however, dentists apply it to young children’s mouths using a tray and gel that’s usually flavored.

Fluoride helps prevent decay in a number of ways. First, it accumulates in the growing bones and teeth of children. This helps to harden the enamel on baby teeth and adult teeth. Fluoride can also help to harden the enamel on already emerged adult teeth.

This element also helps with the process of demineralization, which naturally occurs on a daily basis. Every time you eat your saliva produces a chemical that removes calcium and phosphorus from under the tooth. The opposite process of remineralization also occurs. With fluoride in the body, the remineralization process results in harder mineral deposits and ultimately stronger teeth.

What are sealants?

Sealants are thin layers of plastic that are literally painted onto a tooth’s surface. In order for a tooth to be a candidate for sealants, it needs to be free from any decay. Sealants are commonly used on the chewing surface of teeth, particularly back teeth, because they tend to collect more plaque and food. This is a result of the often deep grooves found on their surface.

The sealant creates a thin layer of protection that prevents cavities and decay from forming. They’re applied by painting on a thin layer of liquid plastic that dries and adheres to teeth. Sealants are completely safe and a great option for parents who want to ensure their children’s mouth is protected for years to come. In fact, sealants can last as long as 10 years!

Why can’t I just brush and floss?

Brushing and flossing are incredibly important and the key to a healthy mouth, however, sealants and fluoride treatments provide a second line of defense which can create a long-term plan for success. No matter how much your brush, floss, or get your teeth cleaned, there’s always a chance for bacteria to build up and cause issues. Sealants and fluoride help reduce that risk even more.

Contact our office to learn more about how Dr. Leal can determine if sealants and fluoride treatment are the best choice for you. We’re dedicated to serving our community and helping put together the ideal dental treatment plans for you.