Scientists Develop Film to Keep Braces and Retainers Clean

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La Grange, IL – New scientific development promises to help stop bacteria from adhering to clear overlay devices like retainers and aligners. This newly developed compound could even stop bad oral bacteria from causing cavities in teeth.

Scientists at the University of Birmingham Alabama have discovered that a molecule can work as an enzyme inhibitor that prevents S. mutans from developing biofilm inside the mouth.

S. mutans is an oral bacteria that synthesizes carbohydrates into acids, which eat through enamel, and eventually cause cavities. It creates a sticky substance called a biofilm that helps it adhere to the teeth and attract more harmful bacteria and carbohydrate fuel to the teeth.

The new molecule compound was tested on rats infected with S. mutans and its application significantly reduced cavity formation compared to rats with teeth not coated with this substance.

The mechanism by which this works is that the substance made of these compounds forms a watery layer on the teeth that attracts more water to their surface (it has hydrophilic properties). This prevents bacteria from being able to set up camp on teeth and do damage to them.

Application to Dental Devices

Since this new discovery just last year, researchers have been trying to put this technology to work in further dental applications. The American Chemical Society announced at the end of May that they have applied this hydrophilic concept to create a film substance to put inside clear aligners, such as Invisalign, in order to prevent bacterial biofilm from forming on these devices.

Using these gels in the near future will help clear overlay devices to stay truly clean, odor free, and without harmful oral bacteria that could contribute to cavities. Currently, even a thorough scrubbing could leave some biofilm residue behind, especially since these devices are porous.

In the meantime, the best way to clean one’s teeth of plaque and bacteria is through regularly scheduled dental cleanings. If you’d like to make an appointment right now, please call (708)352-4500 for the La Grange office or (708)848-5900 for our Oak Park location. We specialize in discrete and powerful orthodontic interventions, including–Invisalign, Accelerated Invisalign, SureSmile, Adult braces, Damon system, and more.

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