How Do Sealants Protect Your Teeth?

How do sealants protect your teeth?

Sealants can protect teeth from cavities, which often
develop on chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars).
This is because the chewing surfaces of these teeth are
not smooth. They have deep pits and grooves where food and
cavity-causing plaque can get trapped. These pits and grooves
are very narrow, and a toothbrush may not always clean
everything out.


Sealants can be applied to the surfaces of molars, both
permanent and primary, as well as the backs of the front
teeth. These sealants harden into a protective coating that
blocks bacteria and food from getting into the pits and
Most of the research on how well sealants work involves
children. Researchers have found that sealants reduce the risk
of developing cavities in about 8 of 10 children.1 Although
there’s been little research on sealants in adults, a panel of
dental experts think sealants can offer protection for adults,


Sealants can offer protection for years, but they also may
become worn. It is important to see your dentist regularly so he
or she can check your sealants. Regular dental visits are also
important so that your dentist can examine your overall oral
health. You should also get a professional cleaning regularly to
help keep plaque from building up and hardening on your
You also need to take care of your oral health at home. Here
are some tips for keeping your mouth healthy: and brush twice a
day with toothpaste that has fluoride;
and clean between your teeth once a day, using dental floss or
another interdental cleaner, like a water flosser or little
brushes; and limit sugary snacks and drinks.


Some teeth have deep pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces.
These pits and grooves can trap food and plaque,
increasing the risk of developing cavities. Sealants cover these
surfaces, helping block the pits and grooves from the food and
plaque. This helps reduce the risk of developing cavities in
these teeth.
Prepared by Anita M. Mark, senior scientific content specialist, ADA
Science and Research Institute, ADA Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Disclosure. Ms. Mark did not report any disclosures.
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1. ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry. Evidence-based clinical guidelines for the
use of pit-and-fissure sealants: a report of the American Dental Association and American
Academy of Pediatric Dentistry [chairside guide]. Available at:
EBD/Files/ADA-AAPD_2016_Guide_Sealants.pdf?la¼en. Accessed December 16, 2020.
2. Wright JT, Crall JJ, Fontana M, et al. Evidence-based clinical guidelines for the use of
pit-and-fissure sealants: a report of the American Dental Association and American
Academy of Pediatric Dentistry