Dental sealants have become increasingly popular over the years. These sealants are a protective coating applied on the chewing surfaces of children's teeth, usually molars and premolars. It's claimed that they can prevent cavities and decay by creating a barrier between teeth and bacteria. However, recent research has shown that dental sealants aren't always a great idea. In this article, we delve deeper into why dental sealants are bad and the risks associated with them.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a liquid plastic coating that's painted onto the chewing surfaces of teeth. They're used to block out food particles, bacteria and acids, preventing them from settling on teeth and causing decay. Sealants are recommended for children as their teeth have deeper grooves and are harder to clean, making them more prone to decay.
Why Dental Sealants are Popular
Dental sealants have become a popular way to prevent cavities in children. They've been used since the 1960s and are often recommended by dentists. The procedure is quick, painless and relatively inexpensive compared to restorative treatments. While dental sealants are a great idea in theory, several valid reasons why they are bad should be considered.
1. Dental Sealants Wear off
Dental sealants are not indestructible, and they tend to wear off after a few years. Once the sealant wears out, bacteria and decay can thrive in the grooves, causing cavities. The effectiveness of the sealant may be reduced over time due to the constant wear and tear of chewing and biting forces.
2. Dental Sealants are not 100% Effective
Even though dental sealants may reduce the risk of decay and cavities, they're not foolproof. If the sealant doesn't cover the tooth properly, bacteria can still accumulate and cause damage. Additionally, if a child doesn't maintain proper oral hygiene or has a sugar-rich diet, the sealant may not be effective.
3. Dental Sealants have Chemicals
Dental sealants contain Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical linked to several health problems such as cancer, diabetes, and obesity. BPA mimics oestrogen and can affect hormone levels, particularly in children. It is also an endocrine-disrupting chemical that can cause developmental and reproductive problems.
4. Dental Sealants can cause Tooth Decay
Dental sealants aren't always the best solution for everyone, especially if you already have tooth decay. If the teeth are not cleaned correctly before the application of sealants, it can trap bacteria that already exist on the tooth surface. Once bacteria are held under the sealants, they continue to grow and cause further decay.
5. Dental Sealants can be Expensive
The application of dental sealants can be expensive, particularly for low-income families without dental insurance. Although preventive measures like dental sealants help reduce the need for restorative treatments, they still cost money, which can be a burden for some families.
Dental sealants may offer some benefit in preventing cavities in children. However, as with all dental treatments, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons before deciding to have them applied. The risks associated with dental sealants outweigh the benefits. The solution to better oral health is a combination of healthy habits, such as a balanced diet, regular brushing and flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly. It's also important to speak to your dentist about other preventive measures to promote healthy teeth and gums. Overall, dental sealants are not always the best solution to preventing tooth decay and can cause more harm than good..