Invisalign is much preferred over traditional braces because they don’t have the appearance of metal brackets. However, you should follow a few strict rules when wearing clear aligners.
Unlike braces, you can’t put on Invisalign and leave them until your orthodontist takes them off. Clear aligners can be removed, and with that comes some specialized care. Without proper care, your aligners can discolor or become breeding grounds for bacteria.
Here are seven common Invisalign care mistakes many people make with their clear aligners.
1. You Don’t Take Them Out
Unlike traditional braces, clear aligners are meant to be removed. Leaving your aligners in all the time can damage them and affect your overall oral health. It’s most important to remove your aligners while you’re eating or drinking anything other than water.
Eating with aligners increases the chance of food getting stuck in them, which can compromise the health of your gums and tooth enamel. Food can also stain or discolor the aligners.
The solution is to remove your aligners any time you’re planning to eat or drink, even if it’s only a small snack.
2. You’re Not Cleaning Them Immediately
Speaking of taking your aligners out, you’re making another mistake if you’re not cleaning them before putting them back in your mouth. Even the cleanest mouths have bacteria in them.
So when you take your aligners out to brush your teeth, for example, if you put the aligners back in without cleaning them, you’re putting that bacteria right back into your mouth.
It’s a good idea to get into the practice of giving your aligners a quick rinse once you take them out to get rid of any bacteria. You can do this throughout the day between the more thorough cleanings.
3. They’re Exposed to Bacteria
You don’t want to place your aligners just anywhere. Leaving your aligners sitting out can cause bacterial growth from the bacteria already in your mouth. They can also pick up more bacteria from the surface you set them on.
Be conscious of where you’re placing your aligners when you do take them out of your mouth. Not only can they pick up some nasty germs, but they may spread them as well.
Store your aligners in an airtight container or case any time you take them out of your mouth. Doing so will reduce their exposure and spread of potentially harmful bacteria.
4. Neglecting Your Oral Health
While clear aligners work to straighten your teeth, it’s important for you to maintain your oral health. Bad oral hygiene can exacerbate any oral health issues you have, particularly the reason you might be wearing aligners.
Having aligners that you can remove allows you to give your mouth a thorough cleaning. And because aligners will help straighten and move your teeth, you’ll have fewer areas for plaque to hide and an easier time brushing and flossing between your teeth.
Don’t give up on your regular hygiene routine when you have Invisalign. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing, and using mouthwash can reduce the risk of cavities and protect the teeth’s enamel. Invisalign and proper oral hygiene will work together to help you create a beautiful smile.
5. Not Using the Right Products
Cleaning Invisalign trays is essential to protect the integrity of the aligners. But you can’t just use any product to clean your aligners. Rinsing with water is all right if you’re popping them out and then popping them back in.
But if you’re doing your regularly scheduled deep cleaning, only water won’t do. You’ll also want to avoid using mouthwash because the plastic and dyes can damage the aligners. Toothpaste should also never be used to clean your clear aligners.
You can use a denture cleaner to help clean your Invisalign trays. Mild soap and water will also do the trick. Just remember to thoroughly rinse the aligners before storing them or placing them back into your mouth.
6. You’re Skipping Daily Maintenance
Most likely, you’re wearing your aligners every day. And if you’re not, you should be. But with daily wear also comes daily tear, and that’s why you should have a daily Invisalign cleaning routine.
Not cleaning your aligners every day can be a huge mistake that leads to bacterial growth in both the aligners and your mouth. This buildup can damage the aligners and your teeth, causing more dental issues down the road.
Get into the habit of cleaning your Invisalign trays daily to avoid any issues. A deep cleaning before bed is a great habit to strive for when you wear clear aligners. Do this after brushing your teeth so you won’t forget.
7. You’re Using the Wrong Tools
You may also be using the wrong tools to clean your clear aligners. It may seem easy to grab your toothbrush to give your trays a quick scrub. But if the bristles are too hard, they can scratch up your aligners, which can lead to stains and bacterial growth.
The wrong tools can also damage the aligners or make them uncomfortable when wearing them. That’s why it’s important to use the proper Invisalign cleaning tools.
Soaking your aligners is one of the best ways to go. But if you want to give them a gentle scrub, opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush and rub without too much pressure. There are also cases and cleaners made specifically for clear aligners.
The Common Invisalign Care Mistakes to Avoid
While Invisalign straightens your teeth, it’s still your responsibility to take care of your dental hygiene and your aligners. You have to ensure you’re maintaining your aligners to protect your teeth and allow them to properly do their job.
Avoid these common Invisalign care mistakes so as not to damage your aligners. This will allow them to do their job, protect your teeth, and maintain your dental health.
Ready to get the smile of your dreams? At Carolina Braces, our doctors are trained to provide customized services to treat your individual needs. Schedule a consultation or appointment with a doctor today.