The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended that schools in the United States should help in providing dental sealant on children’s molars to help in reducing the amount of kids’ cavities nationwide. This is because these dental sealants, which are simple and painless to apply, can help prevent up to 80% of decay. At Gregory A. Williams, DMD, PC your Tigard, Oregon dentist of choice, we are firm believers in the use of sealants to prevent kids’ dental cavities. Read on to learn more about sealants and the CDC’s recommendations.
What Are Sealants?
Dental sealants are usually very thin plastic coverings that a dentist places on the chewing, or occlusal, surface of a child’s permanent back teeth. This helps protect those molars and premolars from any decay. Studies have shown that sealants can prevent decay for up to 80% for two years and 50% for four years after application. Sealants can last up to 9 or 10 years.
Why We Need Sealants
Kids’ back teeth and molars have many deep fissures or grooves in them that make them especially susceptible to decay. These crevices are hard to clean and even proper oral care can miss the narrow channels where bacteria can start to gain a foothold. Acids from these bacteria and plaque buildup can eat away at the tooth enamel, resulting in cavities.
Helping Low-Income Students The Most
The CDC believes that by directing the focus of sealants to schools where there are high percentage of free or reduced cost lunches, they can help increase low-income children’s overall dental health. The report went on to say that if all low-income children were treated with sealants, it could prevent up to 3.4 million cavities over the span of four years. Sealants are surprisingly easy to administer, even in a school setting; yet only 1 in 3 low-income children currently receive them. The CDC already provides funds for 21 state public health departments to implement the school-based sealant programs for poorer, rural-based students in America.
“Many children with untreated cavities will have difficulty eating, speaking and learning,” reported CDC Director, Tom Frieden. “Dental sealants can be an effective and inexpensive way to prevent cavities, yet only 1 in 3 low-income children currently receive them. School-based sealant programs are an effective way to get sealants to children.”
The Importance Of Oral Health In School
How important is dental health to kids in school? Well, a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health reported that schoolchildren who had “good, fair, or poor” oral health were three times more likely to miss school due to dental issues as compared to children who had “very good or excellent” dental health.
Sealants are just one of many ways to keep your children’s dental health optimized. Along with regular dental checkups, brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, and proper oral care and diet, it is possible to limit cavities and help your kids enjoy a teeth-healthy childhood. If you have questions about family dental care in Tigard or sealants, please call our office today to set up an appointment.