If You Wear Plastic Teeth Aligners, Make This Your Fresh-Mouth Go-To
This is bananas, and don’t be like me, but I just completed my THIRD round of orthodontia.
Yup, you read that right: I’ve straightened my choppers three times.
Long story short: I had full-on metal braces as a teen, then had full-on metal braces again a few years ago, and then recently underwent a short stint in Invisalign.
Why so much “relapsing” and wayward-teeth action? Because I’m officially terrible at remembering to wear my retainer. Like, I am baaaaaad…
If you’re in the same boat, read this piece I wrote about the many, many reasons why you need to wear that damn retainer already.
So, on to today’s topic:
Because here’s the dirty truth about plastic aligners: the second you pop ‘em in, they start to create a gnarly plaque / bacteria situation that can eventually spawn decay.
Why? Because aligners fit so snugly that they block-out our natural interaction with saliva.
Yes, that skin-tight fit is necessary for moving teeth. But for overall oral cleanliness, a barrier between your fangs and saliva is not optimal.
Enter EverSmile AlignerFresh, a portable, pocket-sized spray that you just spritz into your aligners to cleanse, whiten and brighten - no rinsing required. Just slide them back in, sneakily spit out any excess, and you’re good to go / glow.
Crafted primarily from hydrogen peroxide, AlignerFresh claims to kill 99.9 percent of oral bacteria, and can be used up to six times a day.
When I initially tried it, I was spraying waaaaay too much into my aligners before re-inserting them. That was challenging; a few times I even had to crack open my car door at red lights and do a little fast, covert spitting, which I don’t recommend.
But once I calmed down, and only did the recommend two spritzes, all was well.
I have to say, it’s really great to have an on-the-fly option for aligner freshening, especially when you’re out and about during the day and can’t brush and floss after a meal. Straightening your teeth makes you self-conscious enough; why add to that misery by worrying whether your mouth is less than squeaky clean?
Per usual, I had a few Qs for the co-creator AlignerFresh, dentist Michael Florman - not just about the product itself, but about the “oral environment” we teeth-straighteners are creating with all that tight-fitting plastic.
Before I hop into my email exchange with Dr. Florman, I just want to note that he references another EverSmile product - WhiteFoam - that also “de-gunks” plastic aligners with a few quick spritzes.
Off we go…
FBP: If aligner wearers aren’t able to brush their teeth after a meal or snack, and simply pop their devices back in, are they at risk for cavities?
Michael Florman DDS: Yes. Cavities are formed by acid waste production from normal oral flora bacteria. As we eat foods, bacteria eat the foods and produce acid waste, which demineralizes tooth enamel. As the demineralization persists, white-spot demineralization begins, and then can lead to cavities. Once the bacteria break through the outer enamel tooth surface, they spread into the tooth’s dentin, and head towards the tooth’s nerve. Catching food and bacteria between the teeth and aligners is unavoidable, so patients need to brush and floss well, or now use EverSmile WhiteFoam to destroy the bacteria caught between the teeth and aligners. It’s impossible to brush and floss while on the go, so WhiteFoam is invaluable.
FBP: Is there any “decay risk” for night-time use? i would think not, given the fact that aligner wearers are - at least theoretically - thoroughly brushing and flossing before bed.
Florman: If patients brush and floss well, the decay risks at night are small. For patients that do not brush well, the decay risks increase as the trays are stationary for six to nine hours.
My reco: brush and floss like a complete lunatic, but also keep AlignerFresh tucked in pockets and purses all over your life. Clean, pretty, white - and yes, straight, if you’re into that, which I obviously am - teeth are everything.
(BEAUTEOUS) SMILING CHICK PIC ABOVE: ANA FRANCISCONI