Putting a sealant on the top, or biting surfaces of your back teeth, is a good way to keep cavities under control in both children and adults. Sealants are acrylic coatings that the dentist applies on the top of the tooth. The sealants seep into all the nooks and crannies, creating a barrier that protects the tooth from enamel-eating plaque. Sealants are recommended for children who've just gotten their permanent molars and for adults who show no signs of decay. The process is simple. The dentist applies the sealant after cleaning the tooth. Within a minute a protective shield forms [source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].
At a cost of $25 to $45 a tooth, sealants are cost effective. They last up to 10 years. Just remember, the dentist applies the sealants only to the top of the tooth, leaving the rest of the tooth exposed to bacteria. In addition, some sealants also release bisphenol A (BPA), which is an industrial chemical used in the production of some plastics and could alter the effects of your body's hormones, causing a wealth of problems -- including behavioral problems in children. So it's key is to do your research when sealant shopping [source: Smarta Health].
More Great Links
- American Dental Association. "Toothbrushes." (Aug. 30, 2011). http://www.ada.org/1321.aspx
- California Dental Association. "Xylitol: The Decay-Preventative Sweetener." (Aug. 30, 2011). http://www.cda.org/popup/xylitol
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Dental Sealants." (Aug. 30, 2011). http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/factsheets/sealants_faq.htm
- Freeman, David. "The Truth About Healthy Teeth: Your Guide to at-Home Dental Care." (Aug. 30, 2011). http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/healthy-teeth-10/flossing-floss-sticks
- Gilson, David. "Conspiracy Watch: Fluoride as Pinko Plot." Mother Jones. May/June 2008. (Aug. 30, 2011). http://motherjones.com/politics/2008/05/conspiracy-watch-fluoride-pinko-plot
- Howard, Melanie. "Paris TN: Some communities in Tennessee rejecting fluoride in drinking water." The Paris Post-Intelligencer. Aug. 25, 2011. (Aug. 30, 2011). http://www.parispi.net/articles/2011/08/25/news/local_news/doc4e5678faaff06574213423.txt
- Mayo Clinic. "Cavities/tooth decay." April, 28, 2011. (Aug. 30, 2011). http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cavities/DS00896
- SmartaHealth.com. "BPA Free Dental Sealants." (Aug. 30, 2011). http://www.smartahealth.com/sealants.html
- Times of India. "Tooth fillings to become painless." Aug. 24, 2011. (Aug. 30, 2011). http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-08-24/science/29921968_1_enamel-fillings-protein
- Toothbrush Express. "Toothbrush History." (Aug. 30, 2011). http://www.toothbrushexpress.com/html/toothbrush_history.html
- WebMD. "Choosing a Toothbrush: The Pros and Cons of Electric and Disposable." (Aug. 30, 2011). http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/choosing-a-toothbrush-the-pros-and-cons-of-electric-and-disposable
- WebMD. "Dental Health and Fluoride Treatment." (Aug. 30, 2011). http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/fluoride-treatment
- Webster's New World Dictionary of Science. "Fluoride." Macmillan General Reference, 1998. (Aug. 30, 2011).
Toothpaste has a long, strange history. Check it out with HowStuffWorks.