Dental “sealants” are thin protective tooth coatings that can keep cavities from forming. They are used primarily on molars, the back teeth used for chewing that tend to be the most difficult teeth to keep free from bacteria by only brushing and flossing. By covering the pits and fissures of the teeth and smoothing out the surface, they keep out the tiny bits of food that can cause tooth decay.
Studies show that sealants reduce the risk of tooth decay in molars by almost 80%. A 2016 Centers for Disease Control report concluded that “School-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.” Yet still only 43% of children ages 6-11 have sealants.