Brushing and flossing every day is the first line of defense to keep your teeth clean and prevent cavities. However, cleaning the molars in the back of the mouth can be difficult, as food tends to accumulate in these spaces, leading cavity-causing bacteria to grow and flourish.

To help keep your teeth in good condition, your dentist can apply a sealant on molar surfaces, which provides a thin, protective coating that adheres to the chewing surfaces. This coating, made of plastic or another dental material, helps keeps cavities from forming.

Applying sealants to school-age children is particularly important. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate the children who do not have sealants applied to their teeth have three times more cavities than those who do. Despite these findings, only 43 percent of children in the United States receive this beneficial dental treatment.