The fluoride and sealants are powerful cavity-fighting treatments for children, how?
One of the CDC research shows that nearly one-fifth of children between the ages of 5 to 11 have at least one decayed tooth that hasn’t been treated. Children are particularly prone to dental cavities & tooth decay. Sure enough, you ensure that they brush their teeth twice daily & also take them for regular dental visits. Is there anything else that you can do to ensure that their pearly whites are taken care of? The answer is yes & it lies in Fluoride & Dental Sealants. Before we delve deep into how the two of them work, it will be worthwhile to know how children develop cavities in the first place.
What causes cavities in kids?
Cavities largely occur in the absence of good oral hygiene. Often if food particles are left in the mouth, the bacteria in the mouth combines with food, acid & saliva to form plaque. The plaque, in turn, eats away at the tooth’s enamel. Some of the factors that increase the risk of cavities & tooth decay include:
- High level of bacteria in the mouth
- A diet high in sugar & starches
- Water supply without fluoride
- Insufficient oral hygiene
- Poor saliva flow
The signs & symptoms of cavity include:
- Sensitivity in teeth
- Visible holes in the teeth
- Stains on the surface of the tooth
- Pain biting down
Small cavities that are just starting can sometimes be stopped or reversed. Importantly you can prevent cavities from forming by way of sealants and fluoride treatment.
Let us study fluoride and sealants in some detail:
A naturally occurring mineral, fluoride is known to strengthen the enamel of your teeth. It is possible to get some amount of fluoride from consuming fluoridated water as well as foods rich in fluoride. However, fluoride treatments give that extra protection & support healthy tooth enamel. In fact, regular use of fluoride can go a long way in helping children fight tooth decay. Besides remineralizing & strengthening the enamel, fluoride also plays a significant role when it comes to protecting the teeth from acids that act on the enamel. In fact, fluoride can also rebuild weak enamel and reverse signs of decay when caught early.
If you have any fears around whether the use of fluoride is safe in children, the answer to that is a yes. Fluoride when given in the right dose is absolutely safe. It is only when too much fluoride is taken, that it can lead to a condition called fluorosis which results in white spots or pitting of the enamel.
Fluoride treatment can be offered to children as soon as they get their first tooth. In fact 2-4 fluoride treatments are recommended per year. The process is easy. The dental practitioner will clean the child’s teeth & apply a topical fluoride treatment. Fluoride gel will be placed in trays & inserted into the child’s mouth, enabling the teeth to soak in the fluoride. The only precaution that you need is that the child shouldn’t eat or drink for 30 minutes after the treatment.
Research also shows that fluoride treatment when done along with sealant treatment, offers far better results. In fact an ADA study puts the probability of children who have had both treatments as 73% less likely to have cavities.
Simply put, sealant is a preventive coating that is applied on the chewing surface of the teeth. The process is extremely simple and involves putting the sealant on the tooth surface and later hardening it with a special light. They form a protective shield on the molars. This ensures that food does not get stuck in the tooth’s creases. Sealants are typically applied on the back teeth and are best used soon after the permanent molars erupt. In fact the sooner it is done, the better it is, since tooth decay wouldn’t have a chance to set in.
There are several sealant materials that are available & the placement technique can vary. Some sealant materials could require an acid-etching while some do not. Some materials, similarly involve the use of a bonding agent depending on the material being used. Your dental practitioner can be your best guide in advising you of the right sealant depending on your bespoke needs.
Importantly, the use of a sealant can significantly stem the need for fillings and crowns at a later stage. The preventive sealant coating is nearly invisible & lasts 5 to 10 years.
It is recommended that after a sealant is installed, the child avoids eating certain foods such as hard pretzels, hard candy or sticky food which can accidentally dislodge the sealant.
Dental sealants along with fluoride treatment and a good oral hygiene can go a long way in keeping the child’s teeth protected.
To sum up
Both sealants & fluoride are a great protection for the child’s teeth, albeit in diverse ways. An experienced dental practitioner can educate you about these two processes as also recommend the best course of action for your child. Both the processes are quick & painless and help avoid the need for costly and invasive dental procedures later.
With years of experience in dental care services, Our dentist offers you a hassle-free experience when it comes to dental sealants and fluoride. Call us at (925)-846-4491 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment with us.