Invisalign is popular for a number of reasons. The clear aligners gradually straighten teeth just like metal braces, but they give wearers more flexibility to eat and drink what they enjoy the most. At the same time, just as with standard braces, cleaning them properly is important.
There are several ways to effectively maintain your aligners - and it’s crucial to do that to protect their integrity and appearance.
Why Do You Need to Clean Invisalign?
Think of cleaning Invisalign as holding up your end of the bargain. They provide you with a discreet way of straightening your teeth, and in return you do your part by keeping them clean.
Prevent Bacterial Buildup
Wearers are advised to wear their Invisalign aligners for at least 22 hours a day. If the trays aren’t clean, any debris or food particles built up in them could encourage bacteria to accumulate. That can eventually lead to cavity formation and, in more severe cases, gum disease.
Prevent Unsightly Discoloration
It’s easy for plastic Invisalign trays to develop discoloration over time. By the end of the two-week period during which you’ll wear your trays, you may notice that they take on a yellowish tinge. This is more likely to occur (and may happen even sooner) if you don’t clean the trays. The discoloration can make previously transparent trays far more obvious.
Prevent Foul Breath
Anything that builds up in the aligners may also contribute to bad breath. That’s because the particles and contaminants linger in your mouth, trapped between your teeth and the plastic tray. If the Invisalign trays start to smell, this creates a hospitable environment for foul breath to develop, too.
How Should You Clean Invisalign?
There are several ways to clean Invisalign trays and retainers, and it’s important to practice all of these methods so they stay as clean as possible.
Brush Them Regularly
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to gently go over your aligners before you put them back on your teeth. Don’t use toothpaste — the formula can scratch the surface of the aligners and even discolor them. Instead, opt for lukewarm water (never hot, as this may alter the structural integrity of your Invisalign trays).
Rinse Them Often
If you’re out at a restaurant, you probably won’t have a toothbrush handy — but you should still clean your aligners however possible. A simple option is to rinse them thoroughly in room temperature water, swish some water around in your mouth to rinse away any loose food particles, then put the trays back on your teeth. Make sure to brush your aligners eventually, though, as food remnants may otherwise accumulate.
Deep Clean Them
Approximately once a day, perform a deep-cleaning session to ensure that your Invisalign aligners don’t pick up any odors or discoloration. Your orthodontist may provide you with Invisalign cleaning crystals, or you can purchase these yourself. The crystals are formulated to break down any stains on the material and prevent issues like buildup from plaque and yellowing.
Make a Solution
Another option is to mix equal portions of room tempature water and hydrogen peroxide to create a homemade solution. Place the aligners in this blend and let them sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. This is a simple way to disinfect them, and it’s an especially good choice if your aligners have visible stains and you still have some time to go before it’s time to switch to your next set.
How to Keep Your Invisalign Aligners Clear
While it’s imperative to clean your Invisalign on a regular basis, there are several steps that you can take to keep them as clear as possible:
- Remove them when you eat or drink anything except water
- Place them in their protective case when they aren’t in use
- Brush them at least twice per day to ensure they stay clean
Explore Your Invisalign Options in Cos Cob
If you’re interested in finding out whether you’re a good candidate for Invisalign, or if you’d like to learn more about wearing them, you can trust in Dr. Garrick F. Wong and the team. We’re here to make the experience as smooth as possible for you. Give our office a call at 203-625-9888 to schedule an appointment today.