Dear Dr. Ellie,
I am confused how to implement your program with my full-time essix retainers (except for eating). I imagine the retainers, if not cleaned properly, will just trap bacteria inside as well as prevent xylitol from reaching their destination inside my teeth. My essix retainers, for example, cover the entire upper palate. How do I properly clean these retainers and how do I implement the use of xylitol? Currently, and painstakingly, after using the CWS on my teeth, I brush the retainers with Listerine, then rinse with water and brush/rinse off plaque, then put Listerine on them again as a rinse (to kill bacteria from the water). I then wipe with a towel (air dry takes to long), then, I place ACT inside and outside of the retainer, then insert in my mouth. Could you help us invisalign/retainer folks out?
You are doing a great job. I don’t think you need my advice!
In the perfect world, I would have you eat 6 -10 grams of xylitol each day for at least 6 months before having retainers fitted. In this way you would start out with low bacteria counts and controlled plaque.
The difficulty with retainers or any kind of appliance (braces, partial dentures) is that they trap bacteria, slow the flow of saliva around your mouth and cause plaque build up, mouth acidity and resulting tooth/gum damage.
You should try to end every meal or snack with some xylitol. You could eat granular from a spoon, dissolve in water and swish and drink or you could enjoy some Zellies mints (fruit or mint). Some people get away with the gum but I am not suggesting this!
If you do the “system” morning and night I think you should be fine. In fact, with a thin film of ACT against your teeth at night you may find your teeth get whiter and stronger during this treatment.
I will look into the idea of a xylitol breath spray for you that could be an “on the road” solution to after-lunch!
Please check back in a few weeks and see if I have one for you!
Ellie Phillips, DDS