Sealants — plastic coatings that help guard teeth from cavities — play a big part in keeping your teeth healthy, but they aren’t a magic bullet. The American Dental Association stresses these other key ingredients for keeping your mouth cavity-free:
Brushing gently, at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Pay special attention to the gum line.
Cleaning between your teeth at least once a day with either floss or interdental cleaners.
Eating a balanced diet with limited snacks.
Regularly visiting your dentist.
Fluoridated water supplies have also helped reduce dental cavities, but children can get too much fluoride. Make sure children put only a pea-sized dab of toothpaste on their brush, and remind them to rinse out and not swallow both fluoride toothpaste and mouthwashes that contain fluoride. Children younger than age 6 should not use a fluoride mouthwash because of the risk of swallowing it.
“Brushing Your Teeth.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth Accessed 2013.
“Flossing.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossingAccessed 2013.
“Dental Sealants.” Division of Oral Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 10, 2013. http://www.cdc.gov/OralHealth/publications/faqs/sealants.htm Accessed 2013.
“Interim Guidance on Fluoride Intake for Infants and Young Children.” American Dental Association, November 8, 2006. http://www.fairbanksalaska.us/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/20061108ADA-Interim-Guidance-Fluoride-Intake.pdf Accessed 2013.