The Benefits of Sealants: Smiles for Kids Grant Spotlight

Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. While brushing and flossing are essential to care for baby teeth, they alone may not be enough to maintain optimal oral health for young children. That's where sealants can come into play! In this blog post, we'll dive into the incredible benefits of these dental superheroes and how one of the Delta Dental Foundation's Smiles for Kids grantees has used their funding to support their Sealants for Healthy Smiles program.

What are sealants?

Sealants are like tiny shields that protect your children's teeth from cavities and decay. These thin plastic coatings are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, or molars, where cavities tend to develop most frequently. The application process is swift and painless, usually taking just a few minutes per tooth. Once applied, sealants act as a barrier, preventing harmful bacteria and food particles from getting stuck in the crevices of the teeth.

Why are they important? 

The old adage "prevention is better than cure" holds true in the world of oral health. By investing in preventive dental care, such as sealants, you can reduce the chance of children experiencing the discomfort associated with cavities or dental problems down the road. Sealants are particularly effective in preventing cavities on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, or molars, where toothbrush bristles often struggle to reach. By acting as a protective shield, sealants can reduce the risk of decay and keep those pearly whites intact. This not only helps children speak clearly and chew naturally, but also holds space for the permanent teeth in the jaw.
Also, sealants offer long-lasting protection, often lasting up to ten years with proper care. This can lead to savings on future dental expenses when the cost of fillings or other restorative procedures are avoided.

The Wake County Health & Human Services Dental Clinic Sealants for Healthy Smiles Program

The Wake County Dental Clinic is our longest-running Smiles for Kids grant recipient, and has been awarded a grant each year since the program was started in 2011. Their Sealants for Healthy Smiles program focuses on providing sealants free-of-charge to Wake County children that otherwise wouldn't be able to afford them. This preventive care is key to reducing their odds of developing cavities and more. Each year, they are able to provide approximately 200 free sealants through their Smiles for Kids grant funding. 

wake county grant spotlight

The Wake County Dental Clinic also provides these services to those who are ages 0-20 without insurance:

  • Exams

  • Cleanings

  • Fluoride applications

  • X-rays

  • Education

In the end, sealants and preventive dental care are valuable tools that can significantly contribute to a lifetime of good oral health. So, why not explore this preventive option and give children the best chance for lasting oral health?

Apply for a Smiles for Kids grant!

if you know a nonprofit organization in North Carolina that provides dental care or education for children that are underserved, apply for a 2024 Smiles for Kids grant. The application is currently open until January 6, 2024. contributed to this article.