Invisalign aligners are a cosmetic alternative to traditional metal braces. Many patients prefer the comfort and convenience of plastic trays. Much like traditional braces, Invisalign aligners shift your teeth to a perfectly straight smile. If you do want Invisalign aligners, you should know how to clean them best. Keeping your aligners clean will help them last longer. In addition, clean aligners will keep your teeth and gums healthier.
You should clean your Invisalign aligners every night before you go to bed. While you can clean them more often, you must clean them at least once a day. Dentists recommend brushing them before you go to bed so that you can get rid of the day’s plaque buildup.
If you don’t sufficiently clean your aligners, you risk developing tooth decay or gum disease. The aligners stay on your teeth day and night, so your teeth and gums are essentially encased in plaque. Additionally, your aligners can change color if you don’t keep them clean. The trays can begin to turn yellow, which reduces their invisible quality. Poor cleaning can also result in bad breath.
Use a Soft Toothbrush
When cleaning your aligners, you should avoid anything too abrasive. This includes your toothbrush. You might think that you should use a hard-bristled toothbrush to get a thorough clean. However, you will scratch the plastic aligners. Once scratched, your aligners lose their clear quality. Additionally, scratches in the plastic allow for bacteria growth. The more bacteria on your aligners, the more likely you will develop gum disease or cavities.
Your toothbrush is not the only thing you should consider. In fact, your toothpaste can scratch your aligners if it is too abrasive. To clean your trays, you can use a mild, unscented soap. Just be sure that you rinse your aligners well before placing them back in your mouth.
Avoid Hot Water
It is important that you do not use hot water to clean or soak your Invisalign aligners. Hot water will warp the thin plastic. Unfortunately, if the plastic distorts, the trays will not be able to fit your teeth properly. Additionally, the change in shape can make the aligners uncomfortable to wear or alter your alignment journey.
Rather than using hot water to clean your aligners, use dish soap and cool water. You can sufficiently clean your Invisalign aligners with gentle scrubbing, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and a non-abrasive cleaning solution.
Store in Protective Case
When your aligners are not in your mouth, you should keep them in a protective container. Although the aligners are small, you should avoid keeping them in your pockets. This can be harmful to your aligners in two ways: hygiene and structure. Your aligners are made of thin plastic, which is capable of bending or breaking. Additionally, unnecessary bacteria can spread to your aligners if they are in your pocket.
Keeping them in a protective case ensures that your aligners are clean and safe.