Invisalign aligners are a clear, nearly invisible alternative to metal braces. Your dentist will custom-fit a series of removable plastic aligners that gently straighten your teeth.
After you have worn a set for a few weeks, the aligners can be disposed of before you move on to your next set. Your aligners are meant to be worn all day and night except when eating, drinking liquids other than water, and cleaning your teeth, so it is important that you know how to clean them properly.
When to Clean Invisalign
You must clean Invisalign aligners daily in order to keep your mouth healthy and fresh. Any time that you brush or floss your teeth, you should clean your aligners.
You should also clean your aligners if you drink any non-clear liquids or if you put them back in your mouth shortly after eating. Since your aligners will be in your mouth for such a long period of time, you may want to clean or rinse them if they feel gross or dirty.
Bacteria can build up in your aligners and in your mouth, which is bad for your breath and overall dental health. Without proper hygiene, you can stain your aligners—making them lose their invisible quality—or put your teeth at risk for decay. Increased bacteria can cause cavities, gum disease, or eventual tooth loss.
Cleaning Methods for Invisalign
You should aim to rinse your aligners every time you remove them from your mouth. Be careful not to use hot water to rinse or clean your aligners. The hot water will warp and disfigure the shape, rendering them ineffective.
Brush your Invisalign aligners with a soft toothbrush in the same manner that you would brush your teeth—gentle circles. It is important to brush gently so that you do not scratch your aligners. Scratches will affect the invisible quality of your aligners and create more space for bacteria to grow and thrive.
Another effective method of cleaning is to use effervescent tablets combined with brushing. The bubbles will efficiently remove food particles and plaque buildup from your aligners. Ask your dentist which tablets would be right for your aligners so that you don’t use any harsh chemicals.
If you are on the go, you may want to consider carrying a portable soft toothbrush in order to keep your aligners as clean as possible. Don’t have a toothbrush? Simply rinse your aligners under a tap or with a bottle of water; just try not to drop them.
When you are not wearing your aligners, keep them in an airtight container. This will ensure that your aligners are as protected as possible.
What to Avoid with Invisalign
Do not eat with your aligners in your mouth. The buildup of food particles or the impact of your teeth on the aligners could damage the aligners or your teeth.
Hot water can damage or warp your aligners. They feature a thin plastic material, so hot water will alter the shape and fit of them.
Aligners do not hold up to harsh chemicals and cleaning methods because they are meant to be disposed of and replaced. Even though they are plastic, you should treat them with care.
Avoid using anything with harsh chemicals—denture cleansers or scented soaps—or anything that is abrasive or contains abrasive particles—hard toothbrushes or toothpastes. Keeping your aligners clean will keep your smile bright and your mouth fresh.