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Your healthy smile is fairly easy to maintain. Taking good daily care of your pearly whites (and your gums) will go a long way to ensuring a lifetime of good oral health. Dental sealants are yet another tool in your hands to keep that smile bright.

Sealants are a clear plastic-resin coating which are painted on the molars by your dentist in one visit. They are painless and easy to apply. Once the coating hardens the sealants are durable and can last up to ten years. They are an affordable, easy-to-maintain part of your oral maintenance.

If you have dental sealants, you know that they protect the biting surfaces of your molars. Your molars, unlike your other teeth, have pits and fissures (or grooves) on their top surface. These grooves allow bits of food particles and bacteria to collect which can cause tooth decay if left alone.

Since dental sealants protect the top surfaces of the teeth, they don’t cover the sides so the gaps between the teeth and gums will still be vulnerable to bacterial buildup which can cause the formation of plaque and tartar. You will still need to brush all tooth surfaces to remove food particles and bacteria. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste, gently clean all around the teeth and gum line, using circular motions to clear debris.

Next, make sure to floss in between your teeth and gums as sealants don’t cover the areas between the teeth. Flossing between the teeth gets those food particles and bacterial film that linger in those hidden areas.

Using an antiseptic mouthwash to help kill bacteria is a good follow-up, just don’t skip the flossing part first. Mouthwash can kill surface germs, so it is helpful for the bacteria on the surface of plaque, but it cannot penetrate inside the film, whereas the flossing action breaks down the film so bacterial colonies can be destroyed.

Enjoy the added protection of your dental sealants and take good care of them as you do your unsealed teeth. When you go to your six-month dental cleanings your dentist will check for cracks in the sealants as well as keeping your gums tartar free.

Please contact our office at 718-224-4000 if you have any questions or concerns about the care and maintenance of your sealants.