Just as it is important to brush your teeth every day, it is also important to clean orthodontic retainers to keep your breath smelling fresh. However, the thermoplastic polymers that are used to fabricate retainers, aligners, and other clear overlay appliances (COAs) accumulate bacteria, making it hard to keep them hygienic.
A team from South Korea has developed a polysaccharide-based antibacterial coating that helps COAs resist bacteria growth and increases their durability.
COAs have become universal in dentistry. They can be fabricated from various thermoplastics, such as polyethylene, polycarbonate, polypropylene, and polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified (PETG). However, these materials are prone to bacteria accumulation, which puts patients at risk for developing bacterial infections and gingivitis. They also wear down easily, so patients have to replace COAs frequently.
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