We often get the question, “What foods should my child avoid after getting dental sealants?” To answer that question, we must first understand what dental sealants are and how they help protect teeth.
What are dental sealants?
The chewing surfaces of the back molar teeth contain pits and crevices. Even if your child brushes and flosses carefully, it’s difficult to clean the tiny grooves and pits. Food, plaque, and bacteria can build up in these crevices and cause tooth decay.
To help reduce the risk of tooth decay on the permanent back molars, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children receive sealants as soon as they erupt, which is usually between six and twelve years of age.
Dental sealants are a hard plastic coating applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars that create a barrier to protect them from acid and plaque, reducing the risk of cavities.
Sealants are simple, painless, require no drilling or numbing, and last for about 2 to 5 years. They can be highly effective in protection against cavities and should be checked by your pediatric dentist during regular checkups.
It is important to remember that dental sealants do NOT protect the flossing surfaces between the teeth, nor do they protect the surfaces next to the cheek and tongue. Maintaining good oral hygiene habits is still very important to your child’s overall dental health.
How do you take care of dental sealants?
Even though dental sealants are plastic, they can still break and fall off if not properly taken care of and maintained. The longer your dental sealant lasts, the better it will work to prevent cavities from forming.
Be sure to brush all of the surfaces of your teeth, even with sealants. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste. Brush the sides and the tops just as you would a tooth without sealants. Even though sealants protect your teeth, you can still get gum disease from the buildup of tartar near the gum line.
Foods to Avoid After Getting Dental Sealants
Sealants may take a day or two to conform entirely to the tooth’s shape, but once they have, the treated teeth feel no different from the others. They don’t interfere with eating, chewing, talking, singing, playing a musical instrument, or smiling.
While sealants don’t require significant changes in diet, there are certain types of foods you should avoid after getting them. Foods that are hard, sticky, or chewy can cause them to chip, break or fall off.
- Biting and chewing on hard foods like ice, jawbreakers, and other hard candies can cause the sealants to break and chip.
- Chewy and sticky foods like fruit snacks, gummy candy, caramel, and toffee can stick to the sealant and pull them off.
Avoiding these foods will ensure the sealants last and provide the best possible protection to your teeth.
What should you do if there is a problem with your dental sealant?
Our dental sealants are guaranteed for three years. If you notice a problem with one of your child’s sealants, let us know and we’ll be happy to take a look. We check the sealants for any chipping or weakening at each of your child’s dental cleaning and preventative visits. If we find that a sealant needs reapplication or repair within the 3-year period, it will be repaired or replaced at no cost, as long as your child remains with-in their 6-month checkup window at our office.
In addition to avoiding the foods mentioned above, maintaining a healthy diet, limiting sugary foods, and scheduling regular dental checkups are the best things you can do to ensure your child has a beautiful and healthy smile.