Our mouths are home to many different kinds of bacteria–some helpful and some harmful. Harmful oral bacteria produces acids that erode the minerals in tooth enamel and eventually the tooth itself, causing cavities, gingivitis and other oral issues and problems. Optimal oral hygiene habits, like brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing your teeth once a day, visiting the dentist twice a year for professional cleanings and eating a nutritious, low-sugar and low-carbohydrate diet, can help to reduce the levels of harmful oral bacteria that are present in your mouth. Unfortunately, some individuals find that they still develop cavities despite the absolute best oral hygiene habits, and are therefore interested in what other protective measures they can take. One highly recommended option is the use of fluoride trays.
How Fluoride Trays Help
Research has demonstrated that fluoride helps to protect teeth against the acid that seeks to destroy them. In fact, fluoride has been known to resolve the early stages of tooth decay before this decay is even visible in the mouth so that it cannot exacerbate and create extensive issues. Fluoride cannot actually resolve extensive tooth decay once it has occurred, but it is very efficient at preventing tooth decay from occurring when used properly.
While fluoride trays can benefit any dental patient, no matter their age and specific dental condition, they are especially useful for:
- Children whose teeth are still forming. The presence of fluoride during tooth development will help to ensure stronger and more decay-resistant adult teeth.
- Adults who experience frequent tooth decay problems. Fluoride can definitely work to strengthen teeth that are weak and therefore more susceptible to decay.
- Individuals who have received head or neck radiation treatment. Radiation treatments tend to reduce an individual’s natural saliva production, which in turn can dramatically increase the risk of experiencing tooth decay.
- Individuals who take medication that reduces their salivary flow. Again, anyone who has reduced saliva production is more susceptible to tooth decay issues, since saliva is actually a critical component in the fight against harmful oral bacteria.
- Individuals who experience tooth sensitivity. Fluoride can work to seal the exposed tubules that are often at the root of tooth sensitivity issues.
Fluoride trays are custom-made to fit your mouth, and are filled with prescription fluoride gel before being inserted in your mouth for a specific length of time. In addition to strengthening basic tooth structure and protecting against tooth decay, fluoride trays can actually help to desensitize any sensitive tooth root surfaces that may be bothering you. That is, as long as you use it correctly and consistently.
Using a Fluoride Tray
In order to get the most benefits from your fluoride trays, you will need to:
- Use them every night before bed, after brushing and flossing your teeth.
- Place the prescription gel into the tray precisely as instructed by your dentist.
- Swallow several times in a row in order to help dry your mouth as much as possible.
- Place the fluoride trays in your mouth, firmly seating them in place.
- Spit out any excess fluoride that moves from the trays into your mouth.
- Leave the trays in your mouth for a full ten minutes, refraining from swallowing.
- Remove the trays from your mouth, spitting out any excess fluoride that remains.
- Thoroughly rinse the trays with running water and place them upside down so they can dry.
- Avoid eating, drinking, brushing or rinsing your mouth for at least one hour after applying the fluoride trays.
Your dentist will give you valuable tips to follow in order to take care of your fluoride trays and ensure they are working as well for you as possible. If you have any questions or experience any problems, contact Today’s Dental as soon as possible.