As dental care providers our focus is to keep teeth healthy and aesthetic. The goal is to maintain that beautiful smile as long as we can and be able to eat comfortably later on in our lives. Many people have nighttime clenching or bruxing habits that can introduce microfractures in our teeth and erode the enamel layer. This can cause loss of tooth structure, chipped enamel surfaces and compromise the health and appearance of our teeth over time. In addition to the potential accumulation of tooth structure loss, teeth can also slowly shift over time, leading to noticeable misalignment after a while. I always recommend the use of clear essix retainers or depending on the severity of the bruxing habit, a combination of upper nightguard and lower essix retainer to prevent loss of tooth structure and tooth movement. This will ensure the likelihood of our teeth staying stronger and straight.
One of my favorite tips to give my patients is to keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide at home. It's an affordable cleaning and disinfectant to use for retainers. Soaking them once a day for an hour disinfects and prevents odor on clear Essix retainers and Invisalign aligners. The important thing is to always brush your teeth and make sure they are free of plaque and food debris before placing your retainers or aligners back on. Once the plaque and food contacts the retainers or aligners, its sticky surface will make it very hard to clean off. One side benefit to hydrogen peroxide is that it also fights gingivitis.