If you’ve decided your orthodontic treatment of choice is Invisalign, it’s important to take the proper steps to maintain your new set of invisible braces.
While patients typically switch out aligners for a new tray every couple of weeks, don’t let the short turn-around time between trays fool you.
The journey toward straighter teeth runs through a meticulous maintenance routine. Keeping your new investment clean throughout the treatment process is vital.
There are specific do’s and don’ts for cleaning Invisalign trays to ensure they are sparkling and germ-free every single day.
Follow these steps for an oral hygiene routine that will have you on the road to a radiant smile.
Keep It Clean by Brushing
When it comes to properly cleaning Invisalign trays, the simplest and easiest solution is to brush. Do this twice a day.
Gently brush the aligners with a soft toothbrush. Don’t use your normal toothbrush. Get a child-sized one with super soft bristles.
Add a little bit of baking soda paste or a clear antibacterial soap to remove any germs, plaque, or food debris.
A recent study on ways to clean aligners showed that adding an effervescent tablet to the brushing routine was the clear winner. It led to the cleanest and least germy outcome.
A common hack is to clean your trays at the same time you brush your teeth. That way you’re on an easy-to-remember schedule. Rinse aligners with lukewarm water after brushing.
Do Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Keeping your mouth clean with regular brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. This provides a pristine oral hygiene environment for the trays to do their work.
And don’t neglect the regular check-ups and cleaning with your dentist between your orthodontic appointments.
Be sure to eat a healthy diet to keep teeth and gums strong. Avoid candy or sugary drinks that could contribute to tooth decay and cavities. Drinking water is a great way to stay hydrated while washing away any germy particles.
Recent research studies show that cavities are common in 92% of adults aged 20 to 64. For teens, 59% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 had cavities show up on permanent teeth.
Cleaning Invisalign Trays With a Soak
To be sure, Invisalign trays will get stained, discolored, or have a cloudy film from food or drinks. And after hours of being in your mouth, it’s not uncommon for aligners to get a funky smell from a host of harmful bacteria and unseen pathogens.
To combat the hotbed of germs and lingering plaque, give the trays a good soak each day. The ingredients to some of the best solutions are found in any household pantry.
Distilled White Vinegar
Combine vinegar and water in a 1:3 ratio to create the ideal Invisalign soak. Set the trays in the solution for about 15 minutes. Clear off any plaque and rinse with warm water.
Mix with equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water and let trays stay in the peroxide/water bath for half an hour. Brush off any residue and rinse before wearing.
Add a tablespoon of baking soda to 1 cup of lukewarm water. Place aligners in the water for about 30 minutes.
Keep Out of Hot Water
Proper Invisalign care means keeping the trays out of hot water. This no-no may seem obvious, but it bears repeating – Don’t use hot water (or any other liquids).
The Invisalign orthodontic treatment system uses computer-generated customized plastic aligners to straighten teeth.
These molded trays are made of a plastic material that could melt, bend or otherwise become distorted under high temperatures.
That means if they lose their shape, they’re useless at doing the job of straightening your teeth.
Stay Away From Abrasive Cleaners
Don’t use cleansers that are too abrasive. Invisalign trays are made of a thin plastic material designed for disposal every couple of weeks. As a result, strong cleaners will do more harm than good.
They can scratch the aligners and create small grooves in the trays that become great hideaways for bacteria and germs to flourish.
The troublesome cleaners might include:
- Mouthwash with alcohol or added coloring that could stain trays
- Denture cleansers
- Whitening toothpaste
- Dye-infused or scented antibacterial soap that could discolor and leave a bad taste on the trays
Don’t Leave Trays Out
One of the many benefits of Invisalign is the convenience of taking out the aligners while you eat. But don’t be tempted to leave your trays laying out in the open.
Keep aligners in their air-tight case. This not only ensures their safekeeping but leaving trays out could contribute to more germs and harmful bacteria landing on your aligners.
As a general rule, always rinse your trays before wearing them again.
Don’t Eat or Drink While Wearing Aligners
Resist the urge to have a snack or quench your thirst (other than drinking water) while wearing the aligners. The trays are not designed to be worn while eating.
Not only could food and beverages discolor the clear trays, but chewing could also cause the aligners to be bent or chipped. This is a sure-fire way to ruin your investment in having straight teeth.
Clean Trays Mean Better Oral Health
It’s easy to see the importance of cleaning Invisalign trays. Not only does it promote better oral health, but it also ensures patients are on a happier path toward the ultimate goal: straighter teeth.
Following these best practices will keep you on the road to a brilliant smile throughout the treatment process.
Contact our specialists at Vincent Team Orthodontics to schedule an Invisalign consultation with one of our experienced orthodontists.