The first adult teeth to erupt are the 6 year molars. They erupt in your child’s mouth at 6 yeas old, behind the last baby molar. These teeth have deeper grooves on the chewing surfaces. These grooves-or pits and fissures- are very narrow and deep and can not be cleaned with regular tooth brushing. They make a great hiding place for food particles and bacteria, setting the stage for tooth decay.
Dental sealants help prevent cavities on chewing surfaces. Sealants are thin plastic coating applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The plastic acts as a barrier, keeping food and bacteria out and protecting teeth from decay.
Your dentist can apply sealants in just a few minutes. Once the teeth have been cleaned the dental sealant is panted on the tooth. The sealant hardens within seconds. This protects the tooth from decay. The dentist will check the sealants during the child’s dental examinations to be sure they are still intact.
Your child’s permanent molars should erupt anywhere between the ages of 5 and 7, so it’s never too early to talk to your dentist about the value of sealants. In addition to sealants be sure your child is:
· Brushing twice a day with an ADA – accepted fluoride toothpaste
· Cleaning between the teeth daily using floss
· Eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks
· Visiting a dentist regularly.