February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and the perfect time to highlight great prevention tools like dental sealants!
Dental sealants are thin coatings that when painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth can prevent cavities for many years, according to the CDC. They work by providing a protective shield that blocks out germs and food. Sealants are usually applied to permanent back teeth that usually come in around age 6.
“Dental sealants are the most effective means we have to prevent the most common form of decay found on the biting surfaces of back teeth,” said Ray Lala, Division of Oral Health Director.
Oral health problems in children can affect their ability to eat, speak, learn, and how they feel about themselves. Sealants can reduce oral health issues. Children can receive sealants from their dentist, but in some cases, children can also receive sealants through school-based sealant programs.
CDC funds South Carolina and 19 other states to expand sealant delivery in low-income and rural schools through school-based dental sealant programs. Click here for a list of providers that currently partner with DHEC to deliver these services for the 2021-2022 school year. School-based programs work together with local dentists, school nurses, and parents to make sure that children receive needed dental care.
About National Children’s Dental Health Month
Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. NCDHM messages and materials have reached millions of people in communities across the country. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children to get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
The ADA has free online materials that support this year’s theme, Sealants Make Sense. Click here to check them out.