Sealants Critical to Children’s Oral Health

Sealants are plastic coatings that protect those difficult to reach pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth from the bacteria that cause tooth decay. A quick and painless procedure done in your dentist’s office, sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of permanent molars as soon as possible after they fully erupt in the mouth, usually between the ages of six to eight for first molars and 10 to 12 for second molars. While sealants are not necessary for all children, they are particularly beneficial to children who are at higher risk for tooth decay. But, how do you know if your child is at higher risk?Although overall oral health risk is a combination of genetics, personal habits and diet, history of decay is a good predictor for future risk of decay. Your child is considered to be at higher risk if he or she has had a cavity filled in the past three years. The good news is you may be able to help prevent future cavities by making sure your child receives preventive care, including having sealants applied to first and second molars.

Although approximately 60 to 70 percent of cavities can be prevented by placing
sealants on children’s teeth, a recent study by Delta Dental shows that 60 percent of
children age 6 to 9 who are at higher risk of tooth decay did not receive sealants on
their first molars, and 80 percent of children age 11 to 15 did not receive sealants on
their second molars.1

Sealants Graphic

These figures are particularly striking when you realize that many dental plans cover preventive care, like sealants, at as much at 100 percent of the cost. As a parent, you want your child to be as healthy as possible, and that includes protecting their teeth. Delta Dental is here to help. Our myDentalScore risk assessment tool helps you better assess your child’s risk for oral disease by providing an easy to understand oral health scores report that you can use to consult with your dentist to determine the best treatment patterns for your child’s oral health needs. We also encourage you to take a look at your dental plan and make sure you are using preventive treatments to their full advantage – most are simple, painless and inexpensive. They can save your child from future pain and discomfort that often accompany cavities, and save you from paying for expensive fillings, crowns, or root canals.

To learn more about keeping all of the mouths in your life healthy, and to access the myDentalScore risk assessment tool, visit Delta Dental’s Oral Health Library at

8 thoughts on “Sealants Critical to Children’s Oral Health

  1. We encourage our younger patients to drink water and stay away from the sweets. But if we have to do sealants we explain to our patients and their parents how the sealants protect their teeth and why it’s so important to take care of their teeth at a young age.

  2. We usually talk directly to the parents and explain why sealants are important for their children to prevent future oral diseases. As you said, many dental plans cover sealants, it is really just a matter of educating patients to better understanding the importance of sealants.

  3. I am not familiar with sealants. I guess if my childhood dentist has been using sealants then I might save my teeth from removing unnecessarily. I am careful with my teeth but it is too bad that I need to have braces. And it is unfortunate I was not informed of sealants

  4. Besides speaking to the parents about how important it is to do sealants on their children. The children need to also know why it is being done and make them more aware of what can happen if they do not take care of their teeth at a young age.

  5. Dental sealants are good preventive dental intervention against tooth decay and halting the development of tooth decay in its earliest stages. Aside from the preventive dental intervention benefits it is also a cost-effective investment for parents to their children in reducing expenses related about dental problems in the future.

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