As a parent in Madison, Wisconsin, you might be concerned about the additives in the food and products you use. When it comes to dental care, questions about the ingredients in dental formulas sometimes come up. Have you ever thought about the protective plastic coatings commonly painted on children’s back teeth and thought: are dental sealants safe for kids? What about the BPA in the plastic?
Let’s take a closer look at dental sealants, their function, and if there are any safety concerns to consider.
- What are dental sealants?
- Who should get sealants?
- Are they safe?
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are painted on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to prevent tooth decay. The coating adheres to the depressions on the top of the teeth, preventing bacteria from penetrating the surface of the tooth.
Sealants have been proven to be one hundred percent effective in protecting teeth from cavities when correctly applied and in tact. Sealants are extra protection for your teeth for when brushing and flossing fail to remove food and plaque from the teeth.
Who Should Get Sealants?
Sealants are designed to prevent tooth decay that can occur in the ridges and grooves of the molars. So children should get sealants on their molars and premolars-. Those are the teeth between the canines and molars. We recommend those get sealed as soon as they come in, especially in children that do not have a lot of space in between teeth. Children are especially prone to cavities between the ages of six and fourteen. Sealants are extra protection during this sensitive time.
Adults may also be good candidates for sealants if their molars are filling- or decay-free. Especially those teeth with deep ridges where food and bacteria can get caught and left behind even after brushing.
Are They Safe?
Some parents have expressed concern over the presence of plastics in their children’s mouths, especially the chemical BPA. However, a study in the 2016 American Dental Association Professional Product Review revealed that the exposure to BPA from dental fillings is negligible. Far more BPA is ingested regularly from foods and beverages.
The study showed that a typical six-year-old encountered much more BPA from food, drinks, soaps, cosmetics, and even air than from the amount in dental sealants.
Dental sealants were shown to release a very insignificant amount of BPA, only .09 nanograms. This amount is far below the proposed limit for a forty-four pound child. The proposed limit which is set at one million nanograms per day by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or eighty thousand nanograms per day by the European Food Safety Authority.
The editor of the ADA Professional Product Review, Dr. David Sarrett, commented, “Dental sealants offer a tremendous oral health benefit to children and should continue to be a routine preventive service.”
Sealants are proven to be safe and effective in preventing cavities in children. If you are looking for sealants for your children’s teeth or your own, please contact Affiliated Dentists. We offer general and pediatric dentistry in Madison, Wisconsin.