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Sealant being applied to toothWhat are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that protect the chewing surfaces of children’s back teeth from decay (cavities).  Because they have small pits and grooves, these surfaces are rough and uneven.  Food and germs can get stuck in the pits and grooves and stay there for a long time because toothbrush bristles cannot brush them away.  Sealants fill in the grooves and keep the food out.  

Why are They Needed?

Children should get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as they come in--before decay attacks the teeth.  Sealants, daily brushing and flossing, drinking fluoridated water, and regular dental check-ups are an important part of your child’s oral health and the best defense against tooth decay.

Health Information

  • Seal Out Tooth Decay
    This brochure is for parents of children ages 6-14.  It explains what sealants are and why they're important for protecting teeth from decay.  It also has a step-by-step description (with pictures) of how sealants are applied to teeth.
  • Dental Sealants Frequently Asked Questions
    A fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that explains what sealants are, how they are applied, how long they last, and the benefits of sealants.
  • MedlinePlus: Dental Sealants
    The NIH National Library of Medicine's compilation of links to government, professional and non-profit/voluntary organizations with information on dental sealants. 


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This page last updated: July 31, 2014