About 7 mil­lion low-in­come chil­dren need sealants.

Wellness Update - - News -

What are sealants?

Sealants are thin coat­ings painted on teeth to pro­tect them from cav­i­ties. They flow into the deep grooves of teeth and har­den im­me­di­ately so a child is able to chew right away. Sealants pre­vent the most cav­i­ties when ap­plied soon af­ter per­ma­nent mo­lars come into the mouth (around age 6 for 1st mo­lars and age 12 for 2nd mo­lars). Sealants can be ap­plied by a den­tist, den­tal hy­gien­ist, or other qual­i­fied den­tal pro­fes­sional, de­pend­ing on state law and reg­u­la­tions. This can be done in den­tal of­fices or us­ing por­ta­ble den­tal equip­ment in com­mu­nity set­tings like a school.

Why use sealants?

Sealants are a quick, easy, and pain­less way to pre­vent most of the cav­i­ties chil­dren get in the per­ma­nent back teeth, where 9 in 10 cav­i­ties oc­cur. Once ap­plied, sealants pro­tect against 80% of cav­i­ties for 2 years and con­tinue to pro­tect against 50% of cav­i­ties for up to 4 years. Sealants can elim­i­nate the need for ex­pen­sive and in­va­sive treat­ments like den­tal fill­ings or crowns. Ap­ply­ing sealants in schools for about 7 mil­lion low-in­come chil­dren who don’t have them could save up to $300 mil­lion in den­tal treat­ment costs.

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