What is Invisalign?
Invisalign® is a clear, discreet teeth aligner that slowly straightens your teeth and optimizes your bite without the use of metal braces. Each customized aligner acts like braces but is removable, which makes eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth easy and convenient.
If you are considering getting Invisalign, or already have begun using the aligners, it is important to know how to keep everything clean and in good condition. Invisalign aligners can store a lot of bacteria, and good hygiene will help keep them looking invisible and odour-free.
Not only will this make your treatment process more comfortable and healthy, but it will also promote long-term oral health. The tips outlined below will help you keep your Invisalign aligners looking and feeling their best:
- Rinse your aligners
Every time you remove your aligner, it is important to rinse off any dried saliva. If you don’t, bacteria can breed, causing an unpleasant odour. This is especially important in the morning when you wake up as millions of bacteria breed in your mouth overnight.
Simply run your aligner under running water and thoroughly rinse all sections anytime you take the aligner out of your mouth. This simple daily ritual will go a long way to keeping your aligners clean and your mouth healthy.
- Soak your aligners
For a deep-clean that goes beyond casual rinsing, you should soak your aligner while you have it out. This will give your aligner a more comprehensive clean, ensuring it continues to have a translucent, see-through aesthetic. This will not only make your smile look brighter and more healthy but also ensure the longevity of your Invisalign.
You can soak your aligner while you’re having a meal or while you are brushing your teeth, as it cannot be in your mouth for these activities. Invisalign even has an official cleaning solution for soaking that will keep your aligners looking as good as the day you got them.
- Floss, brush and use mouthwash
Good dental hygiene is especially important when you have Invisalign, as they can trap food particles between your teeth and the aligners if you put them back in as soon as you’re finished with a meal.
This could potentially lead to cavities and tooth decay, so it is very important to brush and floss your teeth before re-inserting your Invisalign aligners whenever you can. If possible, carry a small travel toothbrush and mini toothpaste for convenient on-the-go brushing.
- Scrub your aligners
At least once a day, you should scrub your Invisalign aligners with a clean, soft toothbrush. Do not use your regular daily toothbrush as it can transfer bacteria between the brush and the aligners.
Instead, buy a new toothbrush with the specific purpose of cleaning your Invisalign. Give them a thorough cleaning, but make sure you don’t scrub too hard as you will damage the aligners and may compromise their structural integrity.
Now that you know how to properly clean and care for your Invisalign aligners, it is also important to understand the things you should avoid while wearing your aligners and undergoing an Invisalign treatment. Here is a breakdown of a few crucial things to avoid:
- Eating or drinking with Invisalign
Eating and drinking anything other than water while your aligners are in can cause them to stain and eventually smell bad. Food debris can get stuck in your teeth and the aligners, eventually resulting in bacteria growth and foul odours.
Invisalign aligners are not designed to work as your normal teeth do, so it is important to treat them with care so they stay clean and clear. Be sure to remove your Invisalign every time you eat a meal, enjoy a snack, or drink coffee, as these habits can cause significant detriment to your aligners over time. Instead, use this time as an opportunity to rinse and wash your aligners to ensure they stay fresh and clean.
- Cleaning with toothpaste or mouthwash
As mentioned above, good dental hygiene is very important when you have Invisalign aligners, however, be very careful with what you use to clean them. Abrasive and high-alcohol substances, including toothpaste and mouthwash, can damage the surface of your aligners and make them more prone to bacteria accumulation.
Not only will this compromise the effectiveness of your treatment, but it can lead to compromised integrity, which would require you to replace your Invisalign altogether. To keep your aligners in their best shape, be sure to wash with water and proper cleaning solutions, rather than toothpaste and mouthwash.
- Cleaning with hot or boiling water
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, washing your aligners with hot water can actually cause more harm than good. While it is good for killing bacteria, hot water can melt your aligners and compromise the structural integrity of the plastic.
Not only will this make your aligners uncomfortable, but a reshaped aligner will alter how it shifts the position of your teeth, rendering the treatment ineffective. To get the best results from your Invisalign treatment, only wash with lukewarm water or an approved cleaning solution.
- Storing it out in the open
Whenever your Invisalign aligners are not in your mouth, it is important to keep them stored in a safe place. If they are stored in open air, even in a clean environment, bacteria growth will occur.
As a result, every time you put your aligners back in, they will spread bacteria to your mouth and gums, which can compromise your health. Often, the best place for your Invisalign® is a plastic case — similar to that of a retainer or mouthguard case.
When you put them away clean, this will protect them from bacterial growth and ensure they are bacteria-free when you put them in again. Just to be safe, always ensure you rinse them again before re-inserting the Invisalign aligners.
At Guelph Family Dentistry, we pride ourselves on our dedication to family dental services. Whether you are a child, teenager, or adult, we offer comprehensive dental services to make your smile bright and healthy. Our dental professionals will work with you to identify the issues you have with your teeth and address them accordingly.