Dental sealants covering back teeth could prevent up to 80% of cavities in schoolchildren, according to a CDC Vital Signs report released Tuesday.
The CDC Vital Signs Report shows sealants prevent 8 out of 10 cavities in school-age children. They coat the teeth and help keep bacteria out of places that harbor tooth decay.
The study also shows that many children are not getting the sealants, and they’re more likely to get cavities.
Dr. Mary Hayes, a pediatric dentist in Chicago and a spokesperson for the American Dental Association explained, “Sealant is a resin material that infiltrates the area where the grooves of the teeth are. There are many bacteria in the mouth and they will get into those grooves and produce acid and you’ll get tooth damage. The sealant blocks bacteria from getting into those areas. This resin material diminishes or prevents a spot where decay would normally form.”
Hayes recommends sealants at ages 6 and 12.
Hayes addressed the concern that sealants can contain small amounts of hormone disrupting bisphenol A. “We use materials now where conceivably there is some BPA in them but it is minuscule and has been measured at .001 percent. For the average 6-year-old, 96 percent of their exposure to BPA comes from food and drinks, and the rest is from dust and air and paper receipts,” among other sources, she said.