It’s estimated that 5 million people wear Invisalign worldwide. And with all of the benefits of a straighter smile, it’s no wonder why more and more people are turning to this form of orthodontic treatment!
If you’re thinking about asking your Lexington orthodontist about getting Invisalign, you might be wondering how to clean your Invisalign.
Fortunately, it’s a lot easier than you think! Read on for everything you need to know about keeping your Invisalign clean.
Why Clean Your Invisalign?
A set of Invisalign trays runs between $3,000 and $5,000. That’s no pocket change! Not only do you want to protect your investment, but you also want to make sure it’s effective.
Not cleaning your Invisalign can cause the following complications:
- Stained trays
- Bad breath
- Tooth or gum decay
One of the biggest appeals of Invisalign is its subtle design. Patients want a regimen that’s discrete and easy to follow.
If you use Invisalign because of its invisible appearance, you want to keep it looking invisible. Failing to follow proper Invisalign hygiene can cause your trays to stain, thus making them more noticeable.
On top of that, not keeping your trays clean can lead to bad breath — or worse, tooth or gum decay. This is because food buildup in your teeth can lead to cavities and other complications.
As such, think of your Invisalign trays as an extension of your teeth. After you’ve built brushing and flossing into your routine, it only becomes more imperative to keep up with them during your Invisalign treatment.
How to Clean Your Invisalign
In many ways, Invisalign is easier to maintain than traditional braces. Generally, you’ll want to wear your Invisalign trays for 20-22 hours a day. You will wear each set for one to two weeks as prescribed by your orthodontist, with checkups every six to eight weeks.
You won’t need specialized gum brushes or flossing tools to work around metal brackets and wires in your mouth. But you will need a consistent cleaning routine.
Here’s what the experts recommend.
1. Remove Your Aligners Before Eating and Drinking
As we mentioned before, food and drinks that get stuck in your aligners can lead to stains and even tooth and gum decay. The easiest way to avoid this is by removing your aligners before you eat and drink.
What happens if you don’t? These particles can create plaque — a sticky film that clings to the enamel of your teeth. You can reduce plaque on your own by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.
But left unattended, plaque can harden into tartar, which can’t be removed without a professional’s help. Tartar can lead to gingivitis, which can progress into periodontal disease.
When you remove your aligners, remember to keep them in a case. Not only does this protect them from damage and additional bacteria exposure, but it also prevents you from accidentally losing them or throwing them away.
2. Clean Your Aligners Before Each Use
Once you’ve removed your aligners before a meal, be sure to rinse them. Bear in mind that rinsing and soaking them in water isn’t enough to prevent bacteria, however.
For best results, use clear antibacterial soap and a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub your aligners after you take them out and before you use them again.
Avoid using toothpaste, mouthwash, or other scented or colored cleaners, as these can stain and damage your trays — and leave a bad taste in your mouth.
You should also soak your aligners at least once a day. Use either a denture cleaning solution or Invisalign cleaning crystals. After your daily soak, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove any caked-on food, plaque, or saliva.
Tip: Use a separate toothbrush from the one you use for your teeth. And avoid soaking your aligners in hot water or harsh chemicals, as these can warp the material and prolong your treatment period.
3. Keep up With Your Regular Oral Hygiene
After you’ve cleaned your Invisalign, remember to clean your teeth before you put the aligners back in your mouth. Clean aligners won’t be of much use if you still have food particles in your teeth and gums!
Brushing goes beyond just doing it twice a day. For best results, we recommend the following techniques:
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums
- Use short strokes in a back-and-forth motion
- Brush all surfaces of your teeth (fronts, backs, and bottoms)
- Brush your tongue to eliminate bacteria (and bad breath!)
- Don’t brush too hard, as this wears down your enamel over time
- Use a fluoride toothpaste
When it comes to flossing, do it at least once a day. Before bedtime usually works best because it prevents food from decaying in your mouth overnight.
Flossing is an essential step in your oral hygiene routine because it removes food in those hidden, hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. Flossing before brushing can ensure that no particles get left behind!
Tips for Making the Habit Stick
In the beginning, you might find it difficult to stay on top of your Invisalign cleaning regimen. This is expected, as it takes some time to adjust to your new orthodontic treatment!
Remember that you are ultimately working toward a straighter smile. Neglecting your dental hygiene could prolong your Invisalign treatment.
To help make it easier, leave reminder notes for yourself. Keep them on the bathroom mirror, in your lunchbox, in your purse, or anywhere else you find yourself throughout the day.
You can also set timed reminders on your phone so you don’t forget to remove and clean your aligners. Let your friends and family know that you just started treatment, and ask them to hold you accountable during mealtime.
And when you’re traveling, don’t forget to take the aligners with you! With the right carrying case and cleaning supplies, Invisalign hygiene doesn’t have to be a chore!
Ready to Make an Appointment?
You are never too old to want a beautiful smile. If your self-confidence needs a boost, you deserve an orthodontist in Lexington who will work with you to help your vision come to life.
And knowing how to clean your Invisalign will make a world of difference during your treatment. Ready to learn more about whether Invisalign is right for you? Visit our page and schedule a consultation today.