How Do I Clean My Invisalign?
Proper oral hygiene is essential for enjoying your smile after your orthodontic treatment. Your new Invisalign trays offer an advantage over other teeth alignment methods because you can take them out of your mouth prior to brushing your teeth so that it is easier to remove food particles that lead to cavities. However, you will need to add a few extra steps to your oral hygiene routine to ensure that your plastic aligners stay in top condition. Use these strategies to make cleaning your new orthodontic appliances simple and effective.
Know the Dangers of Skipping a Cleaning
Unlike traditional braces, your plastic aligners give you the freedom to eat and drink whatever you want. However, there is usually some food residue that remains in your mouth after you put your aligners back inside. Your saliva and oral tissues are also a breeding ground for bacteria. Failing to properly clean your alignment trays can cause the bacteria to build up and cause a foul odor. Food particles can also work their way into the trays. Since your aligners are designed to work by applying pressures as they fit against your teeth, an errant crumb can cause an incorrect fit that delays your progress.
Avoid Exposure to Food
Your orthodontist will talk to you about the importance of consistently wearing your aligners as prescribed in your treatment plan. Yet, there are times when you will need to remove them such as any time you eat. Taking your alignment traces out of your mouth when you eat helps reduce the amount of food particles that get stuck on them. It also eliminates the possibility of them becoming stained from foods such as blueberries or artificial dye. Eating hard or sticky foods could also damage the plastic of your aligners and lead to a need for an emergency orthodontic appointment. Most importantly, removing your aligners will make it easier to get them completely clean during your oral hygiene routine.
Rinse After Removal
The easiest step to keeping your aligners clean is to simply rinse them with water every time they are removed for eating. This reduces the amount of bacteria on your plastic trays, and it removes plaque and saliva. When you are away from home and unable to properly clean your aligners, this also ensures that you do not introduce more bacteria to your mouth when they are reinserted.
Brush To Remove Debris
You can brush your plastic aligners in the same manner that you brush your teeth. However, it is important to avoid using most types of toothpaste because they are abrasive and can create tiny cracks. Certain toothpastes can also cause discoloration. If you are unsure of whether or not your toothpaste is safe to use, bring it to your appointment so that your orthodontist can check the ingredients. To brush your aligners, start with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and gently use it to scrub in circular motions around the surfaces of your aligners. Pay special attention to the areas where the aligners come in contact with your teeth since this is a common area where plaque tends to build up.
Soak the Aligners
Soaking your aligners at least once a day helps to dissolve major build up and bacteria that brushing and rinsing alone cannot remove. There are several methods that you can use for soaking your aligners, and it is always best to choose the one that best fits your budget and schedule so that it will be easy to stay consistent. The Invisalign brand creates a cleaning kit that is ideal for those who want to know they are definitely using the recommended product by the company. However, the cleaning crystals can be expensive for many patients who are on a budget. A vinegar and water solution is one option that you can try, but it is important to only soak the trays for less than five minutes. Soaking them any longer will allow the acids in the vinegar to erode the plastic trays.
Rinse and Dry the Aligners
After every cleaning method, it is important to give your aligners a final rinse with warm water. This helps remove any lingering debris while ensuring that the cleaners are rinsed off. It is important to avoid placing wet aligners in your mouth, so give them time to air dry. Place them on a soft, lint-free towel while they dry, and make sure they are stored in a safe location that is away from heated appliances during the drying time.
Avoid Harmful Cleaning Methods
There are several types of cleaning methods that you may hear people swear by, but orthodontists know that they can cause harm. For example, mouthwash should not be used as a soaking solution because it can cause discoloration. However, it is perfectly safe to rinse with mouthwash after brushing your teeth. Bleach should never used to brighten up your trays since it breaks down the plastic and causes it to turn a yellowish color. Instead, talk to your orthodontic team if you feel your trays are unsightly or have a foul odor so that they can review how to keep them clean before you get your next set of aligners.
Call Papandreas Orthodontics to Schedule Your First Orthodontic Appointment
Dr. Samuel Papandreas provides expert orthodontic care for adults, teenagers and children at his facilities in:
• Brunswick, Ohio
• North Royalton, Ohio
His patients are fitted with customized orthodontic devices that include:
• Braces – color-matching ceramic or metal devices
• Retainers – worn at night when your braces are removed
• Invisalign aligners – clear plastic devices
• Palatal expanders – worn before your orthodontic treatment begins
You can schedule an appointment with Papandreas Orthodontics to learn about the best type of orthodontic treatment for you and your children to improve your smile correct your dental bite.
How Do I Clean my Invisalign?