If you want straighter teeth, then clear aligner braces may be a great choice for you. If you are also someone who has diligently cared for your teeth, then you may be concerned about aligner cleanliness. After all, you do have to wear the same set for a full two weeks. If you have concerns about bacteria, your oral health, and how clear aligners may affect these things, then keep reading:
Do Clear Aligners Attract Bacteria?
You may be relieved to know that clear aligner do not specifically attract bacteria. They also do not hold bacteria since they are solid and free of openings. However, clear aligners are not immune to bacterial buildup. This can happen in several ways. If you clean your aligners with a bit too much gusto, then you can create marks where bacteria can gather. Even minuscule marks can hold microorganisms, especially since bacteria are so small that they cannot be seen with the naked eye. This is one reason why you should use gentle cleaning methods. A clean washcloth is a good tool and so is some liquid soap, whether it is dish or hand soap that you use.
If you clean the aligners correctly, then they should remain fairly clear. If you use an abrasive agent or hard brush to complete the cleaning, then the aligners will be more opaque. If you notice this, then make sure to speak with your cosmetic dentist about your cleaning method. Bring your cleaner with you, because some ingredients, like alcohol or preservatives, may inadvertently cause a texture or scraping issue.
What About Plaque?
If you see a milky white residue on your clear plastic aligners, then you may not be cleaning them enough. This residue is a plaque and it is a breeding ground for bacteria. When plaque is left on the teeth for an extended period of time, cavities can develop. Also, while aligners are made with a distinctive gap that sits between the plastic and the gum line, bacteria that sits inside the aligners due to the formation of plaque, can easily travel to the gums and cause an infection.
While cleaning is an issue, plaque forms also if you eat with your aligners in your mouth. This is definitely something that should be avoided. This includes any sweetened drinks, coffee with creamer, and even healthy foods like vegetables. Most vegetables do contain at least a small amount of sugar. The breakdown of the sugar and the oral bacterial activity can cause the plaque issue.
If plaque has already started to build on your aligners and has turned to tartar, then there is a chance that you will need a special cleaning solution or an ultrasonic cleaning machine to remove it.
Contact a company like Orthodontic Associates for more information and assistance.