Brushing and flossing are the best ways to prevent tooth decay, but it is not always easy to keep the pits and grooves of your back teeth (molars) clean. There is a safety net to help keep your molars free of cavity-causing bacteria. It is called a sealant. Sealants are a thin, protective coating (made from plastic and other dental material) that is placed in the grooves of your teeth, where it hardens into a protective seal. This makes those grooves smooth, making it much more difficult for plaque to get stuck in those areas in the future. As a result, brushing your teeth becomes significantly more effective and your risk of cavities will drastically decrease.

Sealants are generally applied to children’s permanent back teeth, however, they can also be useful for adults in certain situations. Sealants usually last up to five years, though some adults still have their childhood sealants completely intact.

Keep in mind, sealants do not prevent decay between teeth or the onset of gum disease; therefore, regular home care and dental visits are essential.

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