Guess which part of your mouth is the hardest to brush. If you said, “the back teeth,” you’re absolutely right.
The back teeth are harder to see and harder to reach with your brush. That’s not the end of the challenges they present. They’re also especially irregular in shape.
The parts of your molars that you bite with are heavily textured, with lots of pits, ripples, and fissures. This helps your molars hold your food while they grind it down.
Unfortunately, these pits and ridges are also great places for food to get trapped. Food stuck way down inside a groove can be especially difficult for your brush to reach and sweep away. And as long as the food stays in there, it’s providing food for the acid-making bacteria that live on your teeth.
That’s where your pediatric dentist can come to the rescue. A thin layer of plastic, called a dental sealant, can be applied to your molars. This plastic is transparent and nearly impossible to see without a very close inspection. The sealant fills in the deepest pits and grooves so food can’t get trapped in there. It makes brushing your back teeth much easier.
Even with a dental sealant, you still need to brush and floss daily. The sealant doesn’t make your teeth invulnerable to acid. It only makes the grooves and pits shallower so food can’t get trapped in there. It makes brushing even more effective.
The best time to get your dentist to seal your back teeth is shortly after your adult molars have erupted. They last from five to ten years before they need replacing. Letting your dentist inspect them every year is the best way to make sure your dental sealant is still in good shape and doing its job.