Even though clear aligners are great because they are removable and thus eliminate the need for a strict diet, it’s incredibly important for every patient to maintain proper oral health practices daily. The last thing anyone wants is to finally finish their aligner treatment just to get a cavity removed. To avoid any unwanted developments during your treatment, a patient must learn how to clean both their aligners and their teeth properly.
How to Clean Invisalign Clear Aligner Trays
Cleaning your clear aligner can be relatively straightforward. Most of the time, rinsing and using a toothbrush to remove bacteria will be enough. Still, there are some tools and products that you will want to avoid. On the flip side, there are some practices that you will want to remember.
Although it is much easier to clean your aligners than regular braces, it’s still necessary to develop a good cleaning routine for both your teeth and your aligners. Here are a few guidelines on how to clean Invisalign for you to follow.
Use the Right Tools
Your dentist will recommend you brush your aligners whenever you brush your teeth.
To do this, use a separate toothbrush with soft bristles for the aligners. For the cleaning solution, you can use either liquid soap or toothpaste. If you decide to use toothpaste, make sure to use a soft formula given that a harsher one can damage the aligners. For liquid soap, try to avoid anything with artificial colors on it, as it stains your aligners over time.
Avoid using whitening toothpaste as it’s generally harsher on the aligners. When rinsing or brushing, remember to use warm, but not hot, water. Hot water can deform your aligners and make them ineffective, delaying your treatment process by a couple of days until your new pair of aligners is ready.
Rinse Them After Use
You are supposed to use your aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day. During that time, you will have to remove them for cleaning or to have a meal. Whichever the case maybe you should always remember to rinse your clear aligners thoroughly as soon as you take them off and immediately store them in the given tray to avoid any possible contaminations from the environment.
Given that you won’t have your aligners on when you eat, you would expect them to be free of food particles and thus completely clean. However, that’s simply not the case. After use, your aligners will have saliva and bacteria on them coming from your teeth. In the same manner, food particles can stick from your teeth to your aligners, so always give them a good rinse when you remove them.
Aside from using a soft-bristle toothbrush and a soft formula toothpaste, there are a few solutions that you can use to clean your aligners for a better result. Invisalign’s Cleaning Crystals is a solution that dissolves in water that you then use to soak your aligners in for around 15 minutes.
According to Healthline magazine, a cheaper option is using retainer cleaner instead. Try to avoid denture cleaners, as they can be damaging to your aligners in some cases.
Cleaning solutions help eliminate bacteria and food particles that stick to your clear aligners. Coupled with brushing, soaking your aligners for a few minutes at night will help you maintain your aligners clean and clear throughout your treatment.
Brush Your Teeth
One of the best ways of keeping your clear aligners clean is by keeping your teeth clean.
Brushing your teeth consistently will not only help the cosmetics of your aligners but will also help you avoid any possible infection that could come from bacteria build-up.
Even if you clean your aligners perfectly you will put them on top of your teeth which can contain bacteria and food residue. After a prolonged time, the bacteria can grow in between your aligner and your teeth, which can, in turn, lead to tooth decay or gum infections.
To avoid any unwanted bacteria growth, try to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once.
What Foods and Drinks to Avoid for Clean Invisalign Clear Aligners
As we know, one of the great advantages of having removable aligners, such as Invisalign, is that they don’t require you to follow a diet. Given that they are removable, you can just take them out when eating and avoid any possible damage to them. Even so, you may want to avoid sugary foods, given that the sugar will react with your saliva and bacteria to create plaque and acid, which, if left unbothered, can lead to tooth decay.
For drinks, it’s a very similar situation. Avoid sugar and remove your aligners for everything that isn’t water. Any colored drink can stain your aligner over time and give the illusion of yellow or darker teeth.