hey say, your smile says it all. Well, it is quite true to some extent. Your smile will say all about the health of your teeth.
One of the most common killers of a beautiful smile is caries. Dental caries are a form of an oral disease which leads to tooth decay. Our teeth have a coating called enamel, which protects the teeth from harmful bacterial and from the acid produced by food in the mouth. But in caries, the enamel is damaged.
What is a sealant?
Imagine a great piece of wooden furniture at home. What do you do to protect it from whatever is there in the air. A varnish! A sealant is something similar. It forms a protective coating on the teeth, preventing growth of bacteria on the teeth. It is made of plastic material and is applied as a thin layer on the teeth.
How do caries happen?
Our back teeth have grooves, which help in chewing food. But at the same time, food particles get collected in these grooves and fissures, leading to tooth decay over a period of time. Even regular brushing of teeth may not help because bristles cannot reach deep into the grooves and fissures. It becomes difficult to clean these areas.
Floss helps to some extent, but even they cannot reach all the corners and gaps. When the food particles accumulate, they ferment and produce acid. This acid destroys the natural enamel of our teeth. You have also heard of plaque. It is the sticky layer of bacteria that gets accumulated if teeth are not cleaned properly, and it is extremely damaging to teeth.
That’s why sealants are useful. They can do what most dental equipment cannot.
Here is how sealants prevent caries
Sealant is a plastic material applied as a thin layer on the teeth, and this layer prevents the food particles from penetrating and reaching the grooves.
How it is applied
After your teeth are cleaned and dried, the sealant is applied on all the teeth, covering each gap, leaving no scope for bacterial or food particles to penetrate and damage the teeth. Once this layer dries, you are good to go. The protective covering will last for a few years, after which you can head to your dentist again for reapplying it.
Sealants form a natural barrier between the teeth and harmful elements such as acid and bacteria, thus protecting the teeth from caries. Sealants are commonly used on children and teenagers. Studies have shown benefits of using sealants on children’s’ teeth. Since children tend to binge on various food items and also may not have the best of the dental habits, it is best to get the sealant on at an early age. Even adults can get the sealant coating. It is one of the most convenient ways of preventing caries, and is long-lasting. Its effects have been scientifically proven.
Having said that – the sealant works best when you follow good dental habits such as regular brushing.