Can sealants help prevent tooth decay with diabetes?

Sealants can help prevent tooth decay in patients with diabetes. Sealants are applied in the grooves on the biting surfaces of the back teeth. They serve as a protective covering from the bacteria and acids in dental plaque that cause tooth decay. Persons with diabetes are more susceptible to infections and problems in the mouth. Sealants can help cut down on tooth decay. See your dentist for sealants.

For adults and children, dental sealants act as a barrier to prevent cavities. As oral health problems are more common in people with diabetes, this can be especially beneficial. They are a plastic material usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often.

Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by "sealing out" plaque and food.

The most common site of decay is the groove or fissure on the biting surface of back teeth. Sealants have proven to be an effective weapon in the war against this type of tooth decay. Diabetics share the exact same risk of pit and fissure decay as the general population.
Romesh Nalliah
Sealants reduce the risk of decay in anybody (not just diabetics) because it creates a smooth surface (which is easier to clean) where a rough surface once was (fissures on the biting surface of teeth tend to be rough). However, diabetics can have different patterns of decay and only a clinical consultation by a dentist can help to evaluate the benefits or placing a sealant for a diabetic. 

Root surface caries are the prime area that type 2 Diabetic's struggle with. Coronal caries (decay) can have some benefit of a sealant. However, statistically, people with type 2 Diabetes don't have any higher incidence of coronal caries, as does the general populace. So, no sealants will probably NOT prevent the kind of tooth decay that is typically found in type 2 Diabetics!  Perhaps a better consideration would be shorter intervals between periodontal care and a topical fluoride varnish on the affected surfaces.

Sealants can be put on the teeth of children and adults. You'll have to ask your dentist if sealants might be helpful in preventing tooth decay with diabetes. Normally, sealants coat the tops of the premolars and molars. In coating the molars, they provide a protective barrier that blocks bacteria and other substances from penetrating the tiny holes and pits on the teeth. The dentist may coat the molars of young children with sealants, too. Sometimes sealants can be put on teeth even with early indications of tooth decay. While sealants may give a protective coating to your teeth, the way to prevent tooth decay is to brush with a fluoride toothpaste several times a day and floss and see your dentist regularly for cleaning and checkups.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.