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Oral Health and Dental Sealants for Children ages 6-14

Oral health is more important than you might think. Problems in the mouth can affect the rest of your body and keeping a clean, healthy mouth can keep bacteria under control. Without the proper home care (brushing two times a day, and flossing once a day), bacteria can reach levels that cause infections, tooth decay, and/or gum disease. Regular dental check ups can ensure that you have great oral health. Some medical conditions like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease are linked with your oral health. Dentists may be able to suspect a disease and refer you to your primary care doctor if you show signs related to these conditions.

Kids ages 6 – 14 are the most prone to cavities. This is the time when kids start to lose their baby teeth and start getting their adult teeth. As kids age, it becomes harder to monitor their diets and behaviors that can make it easier for them to get cavities. That’s why it’s important for kids to go to their dentist every 6 months so any changes in their teeth can be monitored. Dentists can recommend sealants to help protect kid’s adult teeth as they come in.

What are sealants? Sealants are protective coverings that can be placed on adult teeth growing in, usually on molars and premolars. Sealants can be done without numbing or drilling and are relatively easy to place by a dental professional. The sealants cover all the grooves on a tooth to protect against cavities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that sealants protect 80% of cavities for two years after placement and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to four years after placement. The same report says that children ages 6 – 11 that don’t have sealants are almost three times more likely to get cavities on their molars than children with sealants.

Your oral health is a window to your overall health. It is very important to have regular dental exams to determine all of your treatment needs. At home, you should brush twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Flossing and using mouthwash is also important to remove any food or bacteria that are left between the teeth that brushing may not be able to get. Bacteria loves sugar so try to limit sugary food and drinks, your teeth will thank you! Florida Community Health Centers inc. is dedicated to creating a happier, healthier community, and that all starts with your oral health!